For much of the 1900s, lead was a major component of our homes and commercial buildings. Not only was lead used in pipes, but it was also used for paint. Lead paint, while convenient for the times, was found to cause serious health defects in children and adults. This resulted in a ban on lead paint after 1978, but this did not help the thousands of homes that had already been painted with lead paint over the past century.
To this day, many homes contain lead paint, potentially putting its occupants in harms way. Below we will explain the dangers of lead paint and what you should do about it:
What is lead paint?
As the name suggest, lead paint is a type of paint that contains lead. Lead is a soft and malleable metal that can be easily extracted from its ores. These features made it a popular material for paint, plumbing, bullets, gasoline, alloys, and more. However, lead is also toxic to humans, and continuous exposure can cause severe damage to the nervous system.
The dangers of lead paint
Any kind of exposure to lead poses potential risks. This includes lead paint. While many people believe that lead paint is only dangerous when it’s damaged, this is far from the truth. Regular paint weathering can contaminate the soil, water, and air around your home. Over time, you and your family could suffer from lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning can be difficult to detect, as symptoms don’t appear until a dangerous amount of lead has accumulated in the body. These symptoms can include the following:
- Development delay in children
- Learning difficulties
- Weight loss
- Mood and behavioral disorders
- Abdominal pain
- High blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Loss of memory and/or concentration
- And more
Removing lead paint
If your home was built before 1978, you should get it tested for lead. If the tests come back positive, the next step will be to remove it as soon as possible. Removing lead paint is dangerous for inexperienced individuals; as such, it’s best to leave the removal process up to the professionals.