The risk of Lead Paint
As recently as 1977, lead based paint was used in homes across the United States which
is why lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem for Americans. If
you are currently living in a home built before 1978, it's quite possible that you could have
lead paint somewhere in your home. That does not mean that your house is unsafe. It just
means that you have to take certain precautions to ensure your health and the health of
your family members.
Lead poisoning is a concern for everyone, but children under six years old carry the
greatest risk. Not only are children more likely to expose themselves to lead dust, the
consequences of lead poisoning in the early developmental stages of life can do serious
harm to a child's brain and nervous system. Additionally children can suffer from,
impaired growth, behavior and learning disorders, hearing impairment and headaches.
In adults, lead poisoning can lead to reproductive problems, pregnancy difficulties,
memory impairment, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, nervous system disorders
and muscle and joint pain.
How are you exposed?
Lead must enter into the body either by consuming it or by inhaling lead dust. The most
common ways that people expose themselves are:
l Putting their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths
l Eating paint chips or soil that contains lead
l Breathing in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces
So, if you do have leadbased
paint in your home, how do
you protect yourself?
By taking sensible steps to make sure that the painted surfaces in your home are in good
condition and taking care of worn out areas when they arise. Remember leadbased
paint that is in good condition is not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking
lead based paint is a problem and needs immediate attention.