Is it your first time visiting Check4Lead? If so, we’d like to welcome you to the family. We’re a family that is focused on helping improve American lives by limiting people’s exposure to dangerous heavy metal lead.
We want to be frank about what exposure will do. We want to be honest and be honest and tell you there are situations where you may not need to be as concerned. It’s even if you have heard that lead paint is bad.
Although it’s bad in some cases, there is a reason it was initially used.
Before we get properly started, we’d also like to draw attention to the fact that we have written many in-depth articles on lead exposure. You might have come to this site because one of your friends previously asked you if it was ever something that you considered.
Perhaps it was a group of friends you have known for 20 years. As they came over the other night, one of them brought it up in passing that the city has been known for its problems with lead exposure. While being bad for adults, this problem is especially bad when it’s kids that we’re talking about. Perhaps they came over to your house and noticed a section of your house where the paint is starting to show wear. It could be a serious cause for concern.
A bit of sunshine
The good news is that if your house was built after 1978, deteriorating paint shouldn’t be a cause for concern as far as lead goes. It is assuming the law was followed. If you’re dealing with a home built before 1978, there is a high chance it could be something you need to look into. Make sure that your family is safe.
Is it all homes built before 1978 that will have lead paint in them? No, but it is all homes built before then that need to be checked to see if you’re making any home improvement. It is if it is in a way that may damage the paint or interfere with it. We find there are a bunch of naturally curious homeowners.
They want to make sure that they aren’t unnecessarily exposing their families to danger from living in the home they’re living in. Suppose your house was built right around the year 1978. In that case, chances are better for you when not being exposed to the dangerous material.
However, you would still have to stay compliant with the various laws. Maybe your home was rather built in the 1950s. There is a much higher chance of being exposed to dangerous lead dust. It’s because of the increased chances of being used in the home and because the paint isn’t in good condition. Paint quality has improved over the years.
The ban of residential paint in 1978 was an important part of helping ensure the safety of American families. Still, the durability of the paint has naturally also improved over time. Suppose you’re living in a very old home. You’re not just potentially more likely to have it in the walls. Since the paint quality was lower, the chances are that it has deteriorated.
It has come to a point where it has started becoming dangerous. Time does nothing good to the condition of the paint. It’s been about 40 years since the ban on residential paint. Your home will likely have been exposed to several storms and weather elements that can take their toll.
The EPA’s role
Go to the EPA’s website. You’ll also see that they mention that there are still millions of homes out there where the inclusion of this metal in the paint is an issue. This is present if you have kids or otherwise live in a home. You don’t have anything done. You’ll likely end up ingesting the dangerous material yourself.
Exposure to lead is also relatively widespread. Today, there are still instances where it may be used. You need to look out to ensure that you’re staying protected.
While the act enacted in 1977 was a good start. The subsequent regulation has done a lot to help improve the situation.
The reality is that many kids today have blood levels where the lead content is way too high. Is it likely to stem from your home, probably? Is it the only place it could be coming from? If you have ever gone on a website that sells many cheap products, these products aren’t coming from America. You may have your various opinions on whether the current state of affairs is the way that they’re supposed to be.
At least there is one thing that the US does a lot better than some countries that manufacture many products that we use. That ensures that the manufacturers live up to the various conditions imposed by a range of health authorities.
You may not be a big fan of the implications of the current state of affairs when it comes to the health effects mandated by government offices. There’s no disputing limiting the exposure to lead is a noble cause that has had a positive impact on the health of the American population.
You have a bunch of other governments that may not necessarily have the same strict quality controls. There may be unethical companies still using leaded paint because of the positive attributes that inclusion brings.
To see proof of such incidences, you have to go to Google and type in “lead paint toy recalls.” You’ll soon see that there have been various cases of contaminated toys being sold on a range of websites.
In some cases, it may even be on supposedly good platforms like Amazon. Yes, Amazon does have a bunch of third-party sellers on their site. They often end up getting the products from countries where the rules are laxer.
It may seem excessive to test your kids’ lead levels. It’s also a way to ensure that there aren’t any hidden sources you haven’t been aware of.
Are you a big fan of home gardening? Do you grow most of the vegetables you and your family consume while still living in an old home? It’s not just inside your home that the exposure may be happening, but it could easily be outside.
Did you ever consider that deteriorating paint may be an issue inside the home? There is also a significant risk of contaminating the soil around your house. It can even be the case if your current home isn’t old, but a new home was installed there at some point. We mentioned that this material’s inclusion was also quite common outside. What happens when the paint deteriorates outside? What happens when the lead may be abated outside?
Maybe proper precautions weren’t taken, and the paint was left to do its thing over many years. There’s a high probability that the soil is now contaminated too. You grow your vegetables in the soil rather than buy fresh soil. In that case, you may have allowed their growth in soil that was bad for your family.
One thing is that the paint may have deteriorated over time and that paint chips may have fallen and mixed with the ground. Another potential issue is that the paint has been replaced over many years, and it wasn’t done properly. Or rather that it wasn’t done safely.
The issue is also that it’s a lot harder to ensure that there isn’t any contamination outside. The abatement job is done inside. It makes sense that you will have various issues making sure that paint chips aren’t mixed with the ground. At least you’re doing an abatement job inside. It will be significantly easier to cover the various surfaces in the necessary plastic.
Cover the HVAC system so there isn’t a bunch of wind that may make the job more difficult and clean it properly. When you are working on doing an abatement job outside, there’s no way that is quite as effective. You will also have wind affecting you, and closing off an area to work on is significantly harder.
What happens in those cases? You think you’re doing your family a good deed by growing your plants, and who wouldn’t? Rather than going out and buying finished meals, you’re teaching your family healthy eating habits. It all starts with including more vegetables in their diet.
Who could reasonably complain about that? While growing your vegetables is very commendable, there are still things that need to be done to ensure that it is done safely.
Maybe you aren’t going out and getting the soil to grow them in. You should at least make sure that you’re testing the soil for the presence of lead. It’s important in the areas you’re planning on growing anything edible.
Even if you aren’t growing your vegetables, get the soil tested if you have a baby living with you. Babies tend to put everything in their mouths. It means things that aren’t necessarily meant to be made edible in the first place.
They may put flowers and stones in their mouths. Even if it isn’t a vegetable, there’s a chance that whatever they’re putting in their mouths has been contaminated over time.
This article has focused a bunch on the exposure that may happen from the inclusion of lead in the walls of your home. There are many places outside the confinements of your home where the exposure could be happening. Your family may frequent old buildings where the exposure is happening.
Perhaps you have family members that live in a rundown building. You have been going there as you still want to visit them. It’s not just in your own home that the exposure could be happening but also in the homes of family and friends.
Besides that, there are a bunch of old buildings where your family may also have to go. Those are often places where the money may have been tight. It’s despite the people most often going there being the most vulnerable. Yes, we are talking about the possible exposure in schools.
A lack of funding
It is the case in America that there are a lot of schools that are struggling with funding already. Lead abatement can run in the tens of thousands of dollars to remedy a home. The cost would be significantly higher when fixing the issue in a space as big as a school. While it’s sad, it’s commonly a reality.
Other places where exposure is frequent are in public housing. We wish governments would find the necessary money to abate these places and keep exposure low properly. Many of the financially most vulnerable people are also those that will end up getting the most exposure.
Why is it that people in public housing are so much at risk of lead exposure? In contrast, other people living in the suburbs are less at risk of exposure to this harmful substance. Two main reasons contribute to this, and both are quite sad.
The main reason is the case that exposure is common in public housing. It stems from the fact that it isn’t a popular topic that many politicians seem to care about. We bet that there are few votes in taking an active stance regarding ensuring the safety of these buildings.
There would be a lot more action leading to these things being addressed. The reality of the matter is that politicians do not seem to care. Perhaps if it were a cheaper issue to address, would they care to do so?
Since it can easily cost $10,000 for a household to have this issue properly addressed, you are running up a big bill to ensure the safety of the household. On top of that, the maintenance of these units is often not highly prioritized. The issue is also that many people may not know.
Contractors and their roles in this entire situation
An issue is that contractors will often not make a homeowner aware rules are in place when working on such old homes as public housing. Contractors should be testing all the homes and the surfaces affected by their work.
There is a multitude of reasons why they choose not to. They often do it knowing they are cutting corners and knowing that they are just doing a quick job. Then they are off to their next job somewhere else.
By the time they have left your home, they may have forgotten your name and the type of work they did for you. It’s even if it was done in a manner that didn’t properly ensure your family’s safety.
It is easy to see why it is appealing for a contractor to avoid providing the testing they ought to be doing. If they were to test all the surfaces properly, they would need an XRF gun that can cost them more than $15,000.
They may do a lot of work on some of these older homes that are the more typical ones that have lead paint in them. They do not desire to hand an expensive piece of machinery to someone who is likely working for somewhere $15 per hour. Suddenly, the device is nowhere to be found. They have now spent $15,000 on a piece of machinery that has gone missing.
They may even still have payments that they would have to make on the machinery even if they don’t know where it is.
The alternative is usually what contractors do. It is to buy something like the 3M lead paint test kits. It will cost them around $3 per swab but will only be used on one surface before it needs to be replaced.
The issue with the entire situation is how contractors perceive it. They could be turning it around and having this be an opportunity to make more money. Most of them see it as an additional expense that they don’t want to have.
The reality is that only a few contractors will feel the consequences of not complying with the rules. Yes, the EPA will hand out fines in instances where they find out that contractors haven’t been complying with the rules.
However, the fines are still fairly uncommon. It is easy for a contractor to avoid justifying that they should be spending the additional money.
Maybe they were to take advantage of the situation by offering it as an additional service. The family gets a better understanding of the potential dangers in the house. They would also be able to get more revenue from providing those services.
Say that they are doing a smaller remodel and find out that lead is present in one room. There is a high probability that it isn’t the only place in the house where it is. It’s the reason they could offer lead abatement as a service and be able to paint a place.
Lead abatement is a type of work that will often cost $10,000 or more when done properly and by a professional. It could be an easy way to help them grow their businesses.
Are you curious to keep reading some of the other articles posted on this website? We can recommend our article that includes the most common questions you should be asking when you’re buying a house.