While lead-based paint was named the number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 1991, many people consider the danger a thing of the past.
But according to the EPA, if you’re planning to rent, buy, or renovate a home that was built before 1978, your family could be in danger of exposure to a toxic heavy metal. Lead found in paint, dust, and chips can cause a serious health hazard, especially to small children.
Health Dangers of Lead-Based Paint
Children particularly are susceptible to a wide range of health issues from lead poisoning caused by lead-based paint in a house. The reason being is because kids are more likely to put objects into their mouths that could already be contaminated, including paint chips that contain lead.
For young developing children, this effect could be disastrous. Lead poisoning in small children could affect the nervous system and lead to developmental issues with long-term health problems that include:
- Kidney damage
- Brain damage
- Stunted muscle and bone growth
- Speech issues
- Learning disabilities
- Nervous system damage
In extreme cases, lead poisoning in children could result in death. Even more unfortunate is the fact that many of the issues listed above may not be reversible once lead poisoning has been detected.
Take Action with a Lead Paint Inspection
Even though the use of lead paint has been banned by the government since the late 1970s, older homes may still have lead paint that could cause contamination. For this reason, it’s important to request a lead paint home inspection when renting or buying a property, where the area will be surveyed to determine if hazards are in the building.
The EPA also reminds families that both landlords and sellers are required to disclose information about lead-based paint and related hazards before a tenant signs a lease or a buyer closes on a home. When buying a new property, buyers have up to 10 days to perform an inspection for lead hazards.
If your home was built before 1978, it may be time to perform an inspection to determine if lead is in the interior paint. If necessary, you may need to hire new professional painters to strip and repaint the interior and exterior of your home to make sure that all paint used is safe, especially around young children.