Lead Paint: The Real Scoop

By: Allison Millar, Contributing Writer
In: In the news, Necessary home improvements
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We’ve all seen images of small children eating paint chips…scary stuff, but how common is lead paint, really? Since this is National Poison Prevention Week, I decided to do a little research on the whole lead paint issue.

Lead Paint Stats

The truth is pretty scary. Did you know that over two-thirds of houses built before 1960 contain lead paint? Lead paint can get into household dust and soil from door and windows, and can be a serious hazard if you’re remodeling. Here are some interesting tips from Old House Web on minimizing lead exposure.

Dealing With Lead Paint

If you have a house built before 1978, when lead paint was outlawed, have it tested (and your kids, too, says the Consumer Products Safety Commission). We did this before buying our house and the information allowed us to decide which areas to remodel and which to leave alone until the kids are older. (Even then, we have to take precautions).

Remodeling Around Lead Paint

If you find lead paint, try these precautions from the New York Health Department:

  • Seal off rooms with plastic before remodeling.
  • Wear disposable clothing and take it off in that room (to avoid carrying the dust around).
  • Avoid scraping and high temperature heat guns.
  • Keep kids and pregnant women out of the remodeling.
  • Vacuum thoroughly with a HEPA filter.

Contractors and Lead Paint

When hiring contractors, make sure they are trained to work with lead paint. There’s a new law going into effect next month that mandates this–more on that in a future blog.

If you have lead paint, the key is knowing how to manage it. Stay informed and don’t be afraid to tell contractors to stop or change the way they are remodeling if you think your family’s health is at risk.

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