Lead Paint RemovalMost of today’s homeowners don’t need to worry about paint that contains lead. In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned residential paint with more than .06% lead, an amount considered safe for children, adults, and pets. Even with the ban on residential lead paint, homeowners still need to take safety precautions when removing old paint from inside and outside their homes.

Older Homes May Still Have Lead Paint

Any home built before 1978 could contain lead paint. Since it takes time for businesses to sell products, it’s possible that homes built in the early 1980s could also contain unhealthy amounts of lead. If someone stored an old can of paint for future use, then that paint could have enough lead to cause concern.

If you aren’t sure when your house was built or when a room was painted, you can use a lead test kit to detect unacceptable levels of lead in your home.

The Dangers of Living With Lead Paint

Living with lead paint presents several health hazards. Exposure to lead can cause symptoms including:

  • vomiting
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • fatigue

More serious symptoms include:

  • developmental delays
  • learning disabilities
  • hearing loss
  • mood disorders
  • decline in mental function
  • unexplainable pain

Lead paint isn’t usually a problem until it starts to chip or flake. When this happens, the lead gets introduced to the air, which makes it nearly impossible for residents to avoid exposure.

Paint that hasn’t started to chip should also concern homeowners. Young children and pets may eat bits of paint that they peel from walls, windows, and doors. Even brief exposure can cause serious health problems and developmental delays.

Removing Lead Paint From Your Home

Removing lead paint is a potentially dangerous process. Anyone who attempts to remove paint on their own should use protective gear. They should also make sure that children, pets, and pregnant women stay out of the home until the job is complete.

Lead paint is so hazardous that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) even teaches a course on removal protocol. Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting certification shows that a contractor has been properly trained to remove lead paint safely. The EPA takes this matter so seriously that you could receive a citation if your contractor doesn’t remove the paint properly. That means an extra expense on top of the increased health risks that you face when hiring inexperienced contractors.

Making Your Home Safe From Lead Paint

When it comes to removing lead paint from your home, it always makes sense to hire a professional who has plenty of experience. Those contractors should know how to detect problem areas and remove the paint without exposing anyone to lead chips or dust. It’s usually best to choose a certified contractor, but you may also get good results from a contractor who has years of lead-removal experience.

Make sure that no one returns to the house until the contractor says it’s safe. Even after a job, some lead particles may contaminate the air. The job isn’t done until those particles are removed and you are safe to return home.