Lead

Lead Based Paint and other lead contamination in the home environmentLead, a known health hazard to humans, was a major additive in many types of paints prior to 1950. In the early 1950's other pigment materials became more popular, but lead compounds were still used in some pigments and in drying agents until 1978. In 1978, the use of lead compounds in the manufacturing of paints was prohibited by Federal Statutes.

Lead Based Paint

Homes built before 1978 should be tested for the presence of lead based paint (LBP)

Lead-based paint can be found on walls, ceilings, woodwork, windows and periodically, floors.  Children living in residences with lead-based paint can become exposed to lead by directly ingesting chips of lead-based paint or chewing on protruding surfaces painted with lead-based paint.

The most common exposure route, however, is the ingestion of lead-bearing dust that is generated by the paint when it deteriorates, chalks, or is disturbed during renovation or abrasion. Exposure to lead-based paint through any of these routes can be a source of lead poisoning.

Test for Lead Prior to Renovation

Renovation projects that include the disturbance of lead containing painted surfaces is a major cause of exposures to children and individuals in the home. Find out what is in the paint before you sand, grind or disturb it!

Lead Health Effects in Home Remodeling on ChildrenThe mechanism by which children ingest lead-based paint is often normal hand to mouth activity. 

Infants commonly put non-food objects with leaded dust or paint into their mouths, while toddlers frequently handle toys and are exposed to accessible surfaces such as window sills and floors with lead paint debris.

Lead Paint RemovalIn addition, young children absorb a significantly higher percentage of ingested lead than adults, and absorption is increased by malnutrition and poor diet.

 

Other Sources of Lead

Lead in soil is a mixture of lead deposited from several different sources. The first possibility is weathering and "chalking" of lead-based paint on the building exterior. Many older single family homes have exterior lead-based paint.

The second possibility is airborne contamination from leaded gasoline. Although leaded gasoline has been generally phased out under an EPA ban, many millions of tons of lead entered the environment from this source up until the late 1980's. Considerable lead contamination of soil is possible for dwellings close to highways or major surface streets. 

A third source, usually of lesser importance, is contamination from point sources of airborne lead such as lead smelters and battery manufacturing plants. These sources are less common, but can be important in some areas of the country. 

Lead is a common contaminant in drinking water, and should not be ignored as a source of lead exposure to residents. There are several sources of lead in drinking water. Homes with copper plumbing and lead/tin solder, may have elevated lead levels in tap water (lead in solder is now banned, but illegal use does continue).Lead service lines or interior lead plumbing in older homes may result in lead leaching into the water supply, especially if the water supply is more acidic than normal.

In rare cases, lead is a contaminant in the water supply itself. This happens in only about 1% of water supply systems. Homes built before 1978 should be tested for the presence of lead based paint (LBP).

If you think there is a possibility of lead related contamination or health issues on your property, contact EnviroHome at 888-810-2228.