Things you need to know about lead paint

This is a more general article on the inclusion of lead in paint, what it is, and some of the more basic things that you might be interested in knowing.

This may be an especially good place to start if you are just now starting to look into the possible health effects that stem from exposure to the heavy metal, but also if you’re generally concerned about your health.

It can also be that you aren’t necessarily doing it for yourself, but that you’re rather doing it for your family, since you want to make sure there aren’t any external things that may be causing them to have suboptimal health.

If this is your first time visiting the website, we encourage you to do a couple of things. First of all, we encourage you to read through this general article on the topic, and then we encourage you to start clicking around on some of the links that we have included.

We have various articles on basically all things lead and lead paint, including when you should be concerned, what you ought to know about potentially painting, and what some of the risk factors are.

We don’t just have this general article on the topic, but we have very specific articles on related topics. As we like to say, we’re in the overall business of improving people’s health by limiting their exposure to lead in its many forms, whether it’s through old residential paint, or whether it is by making sure that you aren’t getting toys that are potential sources for the heavy metal.

If you’re curious to see what the situation is in your home, you can always go to our home page and check out the various products that we sell from reputable sources, which can help you test a bunch of different surfaces, although the most common ones are plaster and other surfaces of your home. There you can find various products such as the 3M LeadCheck swabs and more, which is one of the two products that have been approved by the EPA for the purpose. What you should know is that if you start researching the web looking for various remedies to test for lead, you’ll find that there are a bunch of products claiming to do so, although there are very limited products that have actually been properly approved – go to our homepage and you’ll see the 3M kit, and you’ll see the D-Lead kit as well. While you may come across a 3rd kit too, that is not one that we carry, nor one that we recommend you look into as it has only been approved for use in several states, and the two kits that we do in fact sell on this website are very easy to use, should you wish to test yourself. 

Both of these tests will be able to provide you with very rapid results in very little time, and while D-Lead may come from a company that isn’t all that commonly known, it’s still a very valid product that can be used. On the other hand, you have the 3M product, that is obviously made by a large manufacturer. 

So, why have people come to care about lead, and why should you? 

You may have already heard that exposure to lead can be a big issue, and that is very much true in a bunch of situations, however there are also misunderstandings about the material that we would like to clear out, and we will be addressing why we don’t blame manufacturers when they previously added it to a bunch of paint back in the day.

You should also know that there are in fact situations where you may want to think twice before buying a product as it still may contain the harmful material.

So, let’s first start out by addressing some of the concerns that we get a lot. Yes, you can in fact live in a house that has lead paint in it and have it be safe, but you may equally well be experiencing the health consequences that stem from exposure to the material, if certain precautions aren’t taken. 

In fact, if you’re simply in a house that has it in the walls, but those walls aren’t showing any signs of deteriorating paint, you are safe, as it’s only when the paint starts deteriorating that it becomes a problem. That is not to say that it might not have deteriorated in the past, and that you should go ahead and lick the walls either. As it deteriorates, it will start showing signs of wear and tear at which point the dust stemming from it will be released into the air, and that’s when you can start ingesting it, at which point it will accumulate in your system over time. When it accumulates there, you will be experiencing a bunch of issues, but worse so is that other people in your family may in fact experience significantly worse symptoms. It’s actually the case that kids are significantly more at risk than adults are, and that the exposure from the deteriorating paint and subsequent dust can lead to worse health outcomes and with less exposure than is the case in adults. While it will have devastating effects on your kidneys among other things if you are an adult and you get exposed, the exposure in kids will mean all sorts of nasty side effects such as developmental delay. 

That is not to say that you should take the matter lightly just because you are older, but if you’re living in an old home, there are things that you need to do and look out for so as to ensure that exposure is as limited as possible.

When lead-based paint is mentioned, as the name suggests, it is paint that contains the heavy metal.

This is additionally one of the times where we’d like to bring forward some of the other resources on our website that you may be interested in as they go more in depth with various topics than we are going to in this article. Remember, this article is mainly an introductory article to the topic, so that you can get a better understanding of the way that it has previously been used, what you should be aware of if you’re remodeling, and how you generally go about limiting your exposure.

For more in-depth articles on other aspects, continue reading our blog where we’re continuously publishing things. For the time being, we’d like to draw your attention to our articles that include one on buying a 50 year old home, and whether it is safe. Another article that we have written that we are proud of will talk more specifically about indoor air quality. What should be pretty obvious from this article already, that article covers more than just the exposure to lead paint, but also other things that you should be concerned about that could affect the air quality, including mold. The third article that we would like to focus on is more specific to pros that may have their own desires when it comes to opening up a business where they may be exposed to the material, but also a bunch of legal requirements. In its very own article, we have covered the requirements that various different states have when it comes to being able to become a painting contractor. The same way that you may want to protect your family against unnecessary exposure, there are also a bunch of precautions that are necessary when it comes to becoming a pro and actually dealing with this type of paint on a regular basis. You don’t simply want to start scraping the walls as it could quite possibly be illegal, but also because it could lead to fatal consequences. Yes, if you are simply scraping old paint without knowing it, it could lead to kidney failure and in fact death. As a pro, chances are that the exposure is a lot more significant than that of a homeowner, why it is especially important that anyone aspiring to become a painter read that guide. 

That is not to say that you shouldn’t make sure that your old furniture doesn’t contain the material before you start working on it, but if it’s your job to professionally remodel homes, there’s a lot higher risk of unnecessary exposure. If you’re performing the same types of work that a pro might be doing, you’re also yourself at risk of exposure and should familiarize yourself with the necessary precautions for you to stay safe. There’s no difference between whether you’re a pro or not – when you’re scraping old paint that contains lead, that dust may be released into the air when you’re not doing it the right way. Included in doing things the right way is to make sure that you’re wearing the necessary protection that will make sure that you aren’t breathing in a bunch of lead dust in the process, but that it gets filtered out by the respirator that you’re using for the purpose. Additionally, you can’t simply go and use any type of respirator, as there are certain ones that have the necessary HEPA filter which is what keeps you safe. If you’re simply covering your mouth with a piece of cloth, it may be stopping some of the dust, but you are definitely not stopping all the dust. In addition, you will want to make sure that you read the guides that we have available on the site which will help you better understand the various measures you need to take to stay on the safe side. That includes measures to both keep you safe as you are doing the work but also very important measures to keep you safe afterwards, which is done by ensuring that the necessary cleaning is done in a safe way, and done using a HEPA vacuum.

If you are doing any sort of compensated work that would include you working on surfaces that may have the material in them, you really need to be sure that you are RRP compliant, which is a set of rules established by the EPA. If you are a homeowner trying to do lead abatement, we encourage you to keep reading on mainly for the sake of your own safety as the RRP rule applies to compensated work. Although it may mainly apply to compensated work, there are various states that have stricter rules when it comes to lead paint, so if you are in one of those states, you will want to make sure that you are additionally complying with those rules, too.

So why was it added to paint earlier on? 

With the knowledge that we have today, it’s very easy to ask the question of why lead was originally added, and why we are still encouraging you to think about it as a present problem, although it has vastly been banned for a lot of years now. 

While it is nice to know that it was previously banned in residential paint, in fact in 1977, homes that were built before 1978 are subject to a set of rules that could very easily get you in a bunch of financial trouble if you’re not on top of them.

The metal was previously added to paint because it gives paint a bunch of beneficial attributes as well, including being able to last longer and dry faster. If you think back about it, it’s probably not surprising to know that there are a lot of things that weren’t known about the material, and it wasn’t until the 1960s or so that the information about the devastating health effects started to become more widely known. 

If it’s any consolation, there were a lot of countries out there that acted a lot slower than the US did on this specific topic. What you should also know is that it wasn’t until 1992 that there was a wider ban on the use of the paint in consumer products, so there is in fact a relatively large period of time where manufacturers were still allowed to add it to a bunch of consumer products. If you have any products at home that predate 1992, we strongly urge you to have them tested before you start working on them, and even if they aren’t that old, there’s still a chance that someone may have imported a bucket of contaminated paint at a later point that was used. The reason why we suggest that you’re still careful today is because a lot of foreign countries aren’t at all as strict about monitoring and fining companies that are found to not comply with various regulations.

Some of the places where this type of paint is common, and why the situation is really bad

The reality of the matter is that there are a lot of different places where lead exposure can end up happening, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has the same risk of being exposed. Unfortunately it is very common that those people that have the least possibility to actually do anything to improve the housing they are living in, are in fact the ones with the highest risk of exposure. It is very common that all the places that were built at the time when this stuff was still being included in wall paint will also be the places that are the cheapest to live in. They don’t have the newest amenities, and they haven’t been remodeled for a very long time, and they may not even have been tested for lead paint, even if it is available in the paint. One of the big places where it is known to be an issue is in fact in public housing, with some states having public housing that is leaving thousands of residents exposed to the dangerous heavy metal, especially some of the cities that are older. The good news is that there are initiatives that are being taken, especially in New York, where it has come to the attention of the political elite that this presents a big issue for those people living in the dangerous homes. However, there is no denying that it is a massive issue when you look at the overall issue across the country, and it is not easy to take the necessary actions in order to ensure that everyone is protected from it. While there are situations where the necessary actions, such as abating the bad paint, is taken, you may realistically be looking at spending $10,000 per home when there are lead paint issues. In order to properly address the situation, all the paint will have to be removed from the walls, at which point you will additionally have to properly clean the place to ensure that the paint that has now been removed won’t go all over the place and contaminate the rest of the house. Whereas you may be able to get away with a lot if you are working with a home that is newer, you can’t simply start scraping the paint without taking precautions, which would in addition also put you at the risk of the exposure.

There are several steps that need to be taken, especially if you are planning on doing the abatement work yourself. We have created an entire article on the topic that people need to be aware of if they are planning on doing the removal work themselves. However, to briefly summarize the stuff that needs to be done, you both need to ensure that you are properly doing the work and you need to make sure that you are properly cleaning as well. You also need to ensure that you are staying safe while doing so, and that you aren’t transporting any of the toxic material with you after you leave the construction site. That means you will need to wear protection and and disposable clothing that is suitable for the work. You will not simply be able to wear the thin, small masks that people are wearing in order to keep themselves safe from the coronavirus, but rather you will need to wear a proper mask that comes with a filter that has been rated to be able to work for people working with either lead paint or mold. The most common respirators for the purpose are made by 3M, but there are also other players in the market that provide the adequate protection. You also need to make sure that you are properly doing the job, which includes making sure that you are minimizing the amount of dust that stems from the work being performed.

What are common ways to test

What you should know is that it is very easy to Google lead paint test kits, and you will get a bunch of results from doing so, but you should also know that you won’t necessarily only be getting valuable results. You may in fact be getting a bunch of products, that aren’t even approved for the purpose. It’s important to point out that at the time that this blog post was written, there are bad results that are showing up when you are searching for it, and we don’t blame Google for it. There are smart marketers and companies out there that know how to set up their websites so that they will show up, even if it is a bad product that they are selling. While we wish it was possible, we would love to have all the results removed that aren’t in fact approved by the EPA, but unfortunately that is not possible.

What you should know is that there are only 2 test kits that are in fact presently approved by the EPA, and there is one additional test kit that is approved for use in a limited number of states. The most commonly used tool is the one that is manufactured by 3M, which is a convenient little swab that will both let contractors or homeowners themselves test to see if the results are within what has been approved by the EPA, or whether special certifications are required by the professional who is planning on doing work on the surface.

The other alternative is that you can use the test kit that has been made by D-Lead which is also EPA-approved, however those kits aren’t nearly as popular as the 3M option.

Thirdly, if you are looking to have your entire home tested, but you don’t want to have the marks that will be left by the test kits, you can get a contractor who specializes in testing for lead come out, but you will want to make sure that they are using an XRF gun for the purpose, which can be directly used on a surface without having to cut into the different layers of the paint.

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