There are a bunch of questions that we get asked related to both Check4Lead as well as lead paint testing in general, and we will try to answer some of those questions on this page, although we do heavily encourage you to browse the various sections on this website as we have answered questions significantly more in depth in other places.
This page is meant as one to summarize some of the information across our various pages on Check4Lead. In order to better stay up to date on what is going on in the world of lead abatement, we would like to refer you to our blog, where we have extensively covered a bunch of topics, including how you can safely remove drywall, painting while pregnant, illegal landlord actions, and more.
We also encourage you to visit our home page where you can see all the various products we have for sale on the website. Or visit our pages where you can either buy the 48 kits, or this page if you are considering buying in bulk.
While D-Lead is the product that we officially recommend on this website, we do find that a lot of our users are still, surprisingly preferring to test with the 3M products.
Here are some of the questions that we get asked the most, to help you learn more about the topic.
Is lead paint always dangerous, and how do I know if I have been exposed to it?
There are cases when you don’t necessarily need to be worrying about lead, but that is only in the case where you make sure you don’t end up getting exposed to it. The heavy metal is especially damaging to our youngest ones, why it is especially important to make sure there aren’t any easily available sources when you have young ones living at home.
If you know you have lead in the paint, but it is in good condition, and you are entirely sure of it, there isn’t all that much need to worry. However, there are different states that do require that you continuously test and ensure that the paint is in good condition if you are renting out a place that you own.
We always encourage both contractors, landlords and others to make sure that they not only comply with RRP regulations but that they are also aware of the local regulations regarding the heavy metal as those may be more strict than what the EPA has instituted on the topic.
The issue with the metal is that once it goes from being safely trapped, often under several layers of paint, to being released in the form of dust when the paint starts deteriorating and it may crack, is that you suddenly get lead dust which will be dangerous if inhaled.
If I know that the paint contains it, what are my options?
If you are already aware that the paint in your home contains it, you have a couple of options, assuming your state doesn’t require that you address the situation.
You can either have your home abated and make sure that it is removed wherever found, you can have it encapsulated, or you can be extremely strict in terms of making sure that you clean up any and all dust that you find in the process. While cleaning up the dust is definitely not the ideal solution, it is still better than doing nothing and having dust accumulate in your home.
What you should know is that even if you don’t have the heavy metal inside your home, it is very possible that you may have it on the outside if you have a home that was built pre-1978, and if that is the case, the metal may have leaked into the soil outside, having contaminated it. If you have kids that like putting things in their mouth, it is very possible that they are getting exposed to it like that. You could also easily be dragging dust from the outside into the house and have the dust enter like that, making your home unsafe to be in.
We always encourage you to get a thorough inspection of your home if you are either experiencing any of the symptoms associated with exposure, or if you have a home that was built pre-1978. This way you will sleep more relaxed at night, at least knowing the level of risk that you may be exposing your family to.
The best solution is to get it abated to make sure that you are avoiding unnecessary exposure, but if you do choose to have that done, you will probably need to prepare yourself for the fact that lead abatement is a rather expensive undertaking.
What are some of the symptoms that I should be looking out for?
Lead poisoning is a serious threat that can cause a range of threats to your health, especially for kids that are still evolving. Under all circumstances, it’s always better to absolutely limit your exposure to lead as much as possible.
For kids, it can result in significant deficiencies in their development.
The effects will occur from a buildup in the body of the heavy metal, as it builds up with months or years of exposure, and you shouldn’t be left to think that it is safe in small doses, as even small doses can have serious health effects. As you can read, children under the age of 6 are more at risk than anyone else as exposure can severely affect development, both physical and mental. There are some really horrific articles out there with the consequences of extensive exposure to lead among kids, why it is no surprise that New York requires testing at both age 1 and 2. They also have extensive problems with the presence of lead in their public housing, especially in the Bronx.
Some of the symptoms you should be looking out for in children include seizures, hearing loss, constipation, developmental delay, issues with learning, increased irritability, fatigue and vomiting. If babies have been exposed to lead before being born, it is very common that they are born prematurely with a lower birth weight and with delays to their otherwise expected growth, too.
Symptoms with adults are some of the same, but may be expressed less severely than is the case in kids. In adults it is especially important to look out for miscarriage, premature birth, mood disorders, abdominal pain, headaches, difficulties with your memory or concentration, muscle pain and high blood pressure.
If you have the slightest belief that there might be a reason that you have elevated lead levels, we strongly encourage you to ask your doctor to have a test done. It’s the absolutely easiest way to settle your concerns, and if you are finding that your levels are higher than they should be, it is very important that you seek out and find out where the sources of exposure are so that you can take appropriate actions to eliminate those from your life.
What are some of the necessary disclosures regarding lead paint?
While we would absolutely love to be able to give you a simple answer to this question, it is important that you consult with your local government to see what the regulations are regarding disclosures as they vary from state to state. The EPA has made a great page where you can start further exploring your rights if you are either a buyer or renter, and your responsibilities if you are selling, renting or otherwise making property available to others.
It is better that you go there and read for yourself rather than have us reiterate all the information that the EPA has already provided for you, at the risk that we may get some small details incorrect.
The EPA has made a great pamphlet on the topic that we encourage you to read, which is titled “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home”, and it can be found right here.
What are my responsibilities if I have a house built pre-1978 and I want to remodel it?
If you have a home that was built before 1978, the risk of it containing lead is really substantial, and while you might be ready to take the risk upon yourself and ignore the health concerns regarding the material, you risk significant financial loss too if you don’t comply with the relevant regulations on the topic.
If you are doing any type of home improvement that may interfere with the paint, you are forced to comply with the RRP regulations whether you like it or not. Given the millions of homes that still contain lead to this day, it is no joke that the EPA instituted these rules when they did, and they are still handing out substantial fines to homeowners and companies that aren’t in compliance with the law. For instance, there was a very famous fine that was handed out to the HGTV stars of $40,000 for not being in compliance.
There is no reason to believe that the EPA will be any more forgiving if you aren’t in compliance with the law.
What should I know about older homes and furniture?
If you like making projects at home, you should know that you shouldn’t just start sanding that old furniture you have because you want to give it a new piece of paint. The older things are, the more likely it is that it contains lead, and that is no matter if you are talking about furniture or homes. Protecting your family against unnecessary exposure starts with knowing where the exposure comes from, and if you are living in a house built before 1940, there is a 87% chance it has lead in it.
While old may give you a sense of nostalgia, buying something from that period of time also comes with a great deal of health risks.
Do all homes built before 1978 have lead paint
We previously mentioned that older homes are more problematic than newer ones, still ones built before 1978, but while it serves very little consolidation, it is not all homes built before then that have lead paint in them. Certain states made the use of such paint illegal than others did, but you should know that it’s not everywhere that has as strict legislation on the topic as the US does, so if you end up going abroad and you buy child toys, you may in fact be risking that the child you intended on giving them to is unnecessarily exposed as a consequence of it, while all you wanted was simply to engage in an act of kindness.
Is it safe to live in a house with lead paint?
Generally it is considered safe as long as the paint is either encapsulated or not damaged, but the issue just being that it is rarely the case and as the years go, you will find cracks in the paint, you will find that the outside paint is severely exposed to the elements, why it is also going to be the first paint that shows signs of aging.
When it ages, whether outside or inside, lead dust will be released and it will either lie on the floor, on top of furniture or other places until a wind blows it around, and you end up at severe risk because of the exposure to it. If it is outside, it will start accumulating in the soil, and while you don’t want your child to be putting everything in their mouth, you can’t stop them from doing so, while abatement may also mean that you are having the soil abated outside your home.
Limiting unnecessary exposure
While it is not just important to have safety issues addressed at home, there are various things that you can do to have any safety concerns addressed. If you go abroad, you can avoid buying things with paint on them that could be containing it. What that means is that you shouldn’t be buying those toys when you go abroad, but you should also be careful and ideally avoid buying spices when you go abroad as those have been found to have high levels of lead in them.