Generally speaking the older the home the higher the risk is that you have lead based paint in your home. Many people feel that if they have an older house but do not have painted windows or trim work that there is not lead in their home, this is not a good addition. The fact is that homes that were built before lead paint was outlawed in 1978 could have lead anywhere in the house. Many older varnishes & stains as well as other clear coats over natural wood items could have lead in them, this is especially true for homes that were built prior to 1950.
Over the years there has been a debate over lead in the home and how dangerous it is. As with most health dangers, the health effect can be very serious depending on the amount of exposure. As a parent of an infant you know that the first place that any item that catches a child's attention ends up where? That correct, in their mouth and this is the easiest way for a child to get lead poisoning.
Many people across the United States live in homes that have lead based paint in them and do not even know it because it does not currently affect them. However the main contact for lead poisoning is for windows and doors that are not maintained have natural friction points when opened and closed that allow for the deterioration of the paint that then deposits the paint dust to then lay around which is the main point of contact where lead poisoning.
In 2010 the Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) program from the EPA went into effect in order to oversee that the home remodeling businesses were not contaminated homes that were being restructured when lead based paint was present in the home. The law states that an EPA certified Renovator needs to do a lead test or assume there is lead on any house that was built prior to 1978 before concluding work on any home or child employed facility (such as a day care). If lead is found there are very specific ways that renovations need to be done in order to take away the risk for any occupants in these areas and a pamphlet called Renovate Right must be given to all home owners and occupants of these dwellings.
Some states have taken the role away from the EPA and govern their own program and the enforcement of the RRP program which have even stronger policies than the EPA version.
These states include:
· North Carolina
So how can you tell that you have a lead hazard in your home?
There are two ways of doing this. The first way is to hire a certified lead-based paint inspector who will come to your home or child occupied facility and most often will use a XRF gun to analyze the paint in your home. This can be very expensive, let us face the fact that these guns do not grow on trees and for that reason it makes the cost very expensive to get this done, the other way if you use an inspector would be for them to do paint chip samples which also would then have lab fees involved which can get very expensive as well. The easiest and most inexpensive way to check for lead would be to do your own screening which is very easy with a swab test kit. The LeadCheck Test kit is the only instant swab test kit that is allowed to be used by a certified renewator within the EPA RRP program and has been proven to be sensitive enough to detect lead down to the smallest amounts. Remember that a swab test kit can only show that you have or do not have lead, it will not tell how much lead is there or what needs to be done to repair the hazard.
Remember that lead paint found in your home does not mean that your home should be condemned. Like most diseases it can be lived with but must be handled properly to avoid a health risk for you and your family. For more information on lead paint hazards see the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424 LEAD (5323).