Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment including the air, soil, water, and inside our homes. If your home was built before 1978, there is a possibility that lead is still present. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint. Lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.
For over 100 years lead was added to paint to extend the protective properties and durability of paints. Millions of homes in the US were painted with lead-based paint during this time. At the time we didn’t realize the harmful effects that lead has on humans, especially young children.
Who is at risk of lead exposure?
Children: Lead is dangerous to children because their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Babies and young children can be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and toys that can have lead on them into their mouths.
Adults, Including Pregnant Women: Adults may be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead. They may also breathe lead dust during renovation or repair work that disturbs painted surfaces in older homes. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead from these sources is of particular concern because it can result in exposure to her developing baby.
What are the health effects of being exposed to lead?
Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Some of the effects that lead can cause include –
In children: Behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia.
In pregnant women: Reduced growth of the fetus or premature birth. Breast milk can also contain lead that can be passed from mother to child.
In other adults: Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension, decreased kidney function and reproductive problems (in both men and women).
What can I do to reduce my risk of lead exposure?
Steps like keeping your home clean can help in preventing lead exposure. You can lower the chances of exposure to lead in your home by:
- Inspecting and maintaining all painted surfaces to prevent paint deterioration.
- Address water damage quickly and completely.
- Keep your home clean and dust-free.
- Clean around painted areas where friction can generate dust, such as doors, windows, and drawers. Wipe these areas with a wet sponge or rag to remove paint chips or dust.
- Wash children’s hands and toys often.
Call AAA Restoration for Lead Testing
If you are having home renovation or repairs done, make sure your contractor is Lead-Safe Certified. If your house is older than 1978 we strongly recommend that you have your house inspected for lead-based paint. At AAA Restoration, we are EPA certified. Call us today if you suspect lead in your home or business.
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