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Combating Lead-Based Paint

Most homes built before 1960 contain paint with dangerously high levels of lead.  Many homes built as late as 1978 contain some level of lead in their painted surfaces.  This doesn’t mean only interior and exterior painted walls though.  Other common areas for lead-based paint in older homes are window frames.

There is a significant health threat by ingesting particles of lead-based paint, most often by inhaling dust from dry-scraped lead-based painted surfaces.  The danger is compounded for infants, children, and even unborn fetuses as the growing body more readily absorbs and is damaged by the lead.

If you are undergoing a remodeling or refurbishing job and have old lead-based paint to deal with, here are a few safeguarding tips and links going into greater detail to help you mitigate the potential negative impact on your family’s health.

  1. Seal off and ventilate remodeling areas separately from the rest of the living areas in your home.
  2. If it is in good condition, leave lead-based paint alone!  Lead paint in good condition poses little threat.  It is a surface that is worn, potentially from rubbing against itself like in a window frame that creates the harmful dust.
  3. Keep work areas clean, and avoid tracking paint dust through the house on your clothing or work boots.
  4. Read the EPA’s pamphlet titled “The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right” here.

If your home was built in 1978 or earlier (really, if your builder’s permit was issued in 1978 or earlier) you owe it to your family to observe these safety tips before beginning any project that could expose them to potentially lethal levels of airborne lead through lead-based paint.

Check out our blog for more how to tips for Do-It-Yourselfers.

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