If you rent or own a property that was built before 1978, you need to know about the dangers associated with lead-based paint.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a naturally found, toxic, heavy metal. It has been mined and used in a number of consumer products over the years, from fishing tackle to garden hoses to ammunition to automobile fuel to water service lines to paint products and much more.
What Is Lead Poisoning?
People may be exposed to lead through environmental or occupational sources. Exposure typically comes from either inhaling particles of lead as a by-product of burning lead-containing materials or ingesting lead-containing water, dust, or food.
Once the toxic heavy metal has entered into the body, it will distribute to and accumulate in different parts of the body.
Lead poisoning is actually quite hard to diagnose. Symptoms and signs indicating lead poisoning often do not present until dangerous levels of lead have accumulated in the body. Symptoms of lead poisoning include:
- Developmental delays (children)
- Fatigue (children and adults)
- Seizures (children and adults)
- Gastrointestinal problems and abdominal pain (children and adults)
- Mental instability and mood disorders (children and adults)
- Rapid loss of weight and inability to eat (children and adults)
- Muscle and joint pain (children and adults)
- Hypertension/high blood pressure (adults)
- Low sperm counts and mutated sperm (adults)
- Stillbirth, miscarriage, or premature births in women (adults)
Even modest levels of lead exposure can cause long-term harm, especially in children. The most serious danger is to cognitive development, which can result in irreversible damage. Higher levels can harm both children’s and adults’ nervous systems and kidneys. Loss of consciousness, seizures, and death have all been linked to high levels of lead.
How to Protect Your Loved Ones From Lead Exposure
If you are residing in a home built after 1978, your home is likely safe. However, if you’d like to have a bit more peace of mind, lead detection swab tests are relatively inexpensive and readily available at your local paint store.
Even if your house was built before 1978, your risk level might still be low. Just be sure that the paint in your home is not peeling and is in good condition. Dust in your home can also carry lead particles from paint on your walls. Still, lead-based paint shouldn’t be an issue as long as you diligently vacuum and dust your home and maintain the paint located in high-traffic areas such as door frames, doors, window sills, windows, and stairways.
You can also follow a few other simple steps to keep your family safe:
- Frequently wash children’s toys
- Do not allow children to play in or around soil that may contain lead
- Remove shoes outside of the home to avoid lead-based soil transfer
Lead paint can pose many dangers to you and your family. However, as long as you properly maintain your home, pay close attention to the condition of your painted surfaces, promptly fix issues as they arise, and take precautionary measures, everyone should stay safe and happy!
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.