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Lead in Paint

What you need to know

Why is lead in paint?

Lead is used to make paint last longer. The amount of lead in paint was reduced in 1950 and further reduced again in 1978. Houses built before 1950 are very likely to contain lead paint while houses built after 1950 will have less lead in the paint.

House paint sold today has very low levels of lead. Lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning in children.

How can I remove lead paint?

Sanding, burning or scraping lead paint is the most dangerous way of removing lead paint!

This makes large amounts of lead dust or fumes which can poison workers, household members and pets. Warning: There are many precautions that need to be followed before you begin.

Pregnant women, children, and family pets should not be present when this type of work is being done. Only those who are working should be in the home and the work area should be sealed off from the rest of the house with heavy plastic and tape.

A special respirator should be worn by the people removing the paint to prevent lead dust from being inhaled. Have your respirator professionally fitted and use a respirator only with a doctor's advice. Do not eat, drink, chew gum or smoke in the work area.

Outdoor work should not be done on a windy day because the lead dust may poison workers and neighbors. Use a drop cloth to catch and contain any paint chips. Test the paint in any area you plan to remodel before you begin the work.

Never sand, burn, scrape or use paint remover with methylene chloride on lead paint. All paint removers are hazardous. Follow the instructions printed on the label.

These are just a few of the precautions that need to be followed. If these and others are not followed, lead poisoning may occur. Before you begin this type of project, call your local health department to find out how to make this project as safe as possible.

How to Handle a Home that has Been Painted with Lead Based Paint:

Replace lead painted objects by removing the object from the house and replacing it with a new, lead-free item. For example, a door may be removed by its hinges and replaced with a new, safe door. Do not burn any lead-painted item you remove from your home.

Wrap the item in heavy plastic and keep it away from your children. This takes the lead out of your home and it does not create a lot of lead dust.

Cover surfaces that cannot be replaced, such as walls or floors, with a long lasting, tough material like sheet rock, paneling or floor tiles. Because covering does not get the lead paint out of your home, walls or floors that are newly covered must be kept in good condition.

Repainting with new paint or hanging wallpaper is not a permanent method of covering lead paint. If the new paint or wallpaper peels, the lead paint will be exposed again.

Information provided by www.MDelGreco.com, President www.AccurateInspections.com

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