Lead was one of the main ingredients in paint up until around the year 1978. So, if your house was constructed before 1979 and has not been remodeled, more than likely there is lead paint present. If you are old enough to remember, lead was also an additive in gasoline until government officials made it illegal to add to gasoline. This is why most professionals highly recommend bringing in professional painting contractors to handle scenarios like this.
We do know that in internet etiquette states that words should not be spelled out in all capital letters because it’s considered shouting; but we also want to maintain this important warning that can be found directly on a lid of a paint can.
“WARNING! If you scrape, sand or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by calling the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead .”
Please, do not go into panic mode because lead paint will not be a danger as long as it is still intact and untouched. Peeling or flaking lead paint can cause a major threat to any pets or children if they gnaw on the paint chips. The paint chips taste sweet, so take heed in our warning, and have the flaking and peeling paint removed. Lead paint poses a major hazard while any renovations or painting is being done. That is when scraping and sanding can blast lead dust into the air and it resettles on the room’s surfaces.
Federal law now requires that any person performing repairs, painting projects, or renovations and disturb lead-based paint in residences, schools, or child care facilites that were built before 1978, they have to be certified and licensed to prevent any lead contamination. During that time, the Environmental Protection Agency highly recommends that any person performing these renovations, painting, or repairs in pre-1979 architectural structures, to follow these three very easy and helpful rules:
- The work area should be CONTAINED
- Dust should be kept to a MINIMUM
- The area should be kept CLEAN
If you have hired a contractor to come out and paint your home, be sure they follow these important work practices.
Along with lead-based paint, paint that is used in today’s painting projects require special attention and precautions to avoid harming your health or anyone else who may step foot in the house. Here is another warning label from a different paint can lid.
Use only with adequate ventilation. To avoid overexposure, open windows and doors or use other means to ensure fresh air entry during application and drying. If you experiencing eye watering, headache or dizziness, increase fresh air or wear properly fitted respirator or leave the area. When spraying, wear proper respiratory protection. Adequate ventilation is required before sanding or abrading the dry film. If adequate ventilation cannot be provided, wear an approved particulate respirator [I always use a dust mask when sanding because I like my lungs.] In all cases follow respirator manufacturer’s direction for respirator use. Avoid contact with eyes and skin. [Wear safety glasses with side shields.] Wash thoroughly after handling. Do not take internally. Close container after each use. FIRST AID: In case of eye contact, flush with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention. If swallowed, get medical attention immediately.”
We aren’t trying to scare you away from repainting your pre-1978 home but rather telling you to take precautions and that it’s best to be left to professional painting contractors. Informing of these hazards is quite important for both you and your family.
Marc Poulos began his real estate and financial services career, but he soon realized that his true passion was beautifying homes. He started working with various small craftsman shops before serving an apprenticeship with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. His commitment to excellence won him Top Apprentice from Washburne trade school in Chicago – the country’s premier school of its kind.