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Painting Tips & Tricks: Lead Paint Information

The Dangers of Lead PaintMany homes built prior to 1978 were painted with lead-based paint, a toxic metal known to cause health problems, especially in young children. The following information was taken from the Department of Housing and Urban Developmentā€™s website regarding the dangers of lead paint in homes:

Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood.

Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability. Children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms.

Both inside and outside the home, deteriorated lead-paint mixes with household dust and soil and becomes tracked in. Children may become lead poisoned by:

  • Putting their hands or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths,
  • Eating paint chips found in homes with peeling or flaking lead-based paint, or
  • Playing in lead-contaminated soil

Take a moment to look at the brochure "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home" for additional information (available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali and Arabic).

What can you do?

If your home was built before 1978:

  • Wipe down flat surfaces, like window sills, with a damp paper towel and throw away the paper towel,
  • Mop smooth floors (using a damp mop) weekly to control dust,
  • Take off shoes when entering the house
  • Vacuum carpets and upholstery to remove dust,
  • If possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a "higher efficiency" collection bag,
  • Pick up loose paint chips carefully with a paper towel and discard in the trash, then wipe the surface clean with a wet paper towel,
  • Take precautions to avoid creating lead dust when remodeling, renovating or maintaining your home,
  • Test for lead hazards by a lead professional. (Have the soil tested too).

For more information on the dangers posed by lead, visit:
www.epa.gov/lead

 

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