Why should you be worried about lead paint dust?

Lead paint dust Is probably in your home and:

Lead paint is the number one source of lead dust contamination in our homes

* Lead paint dust is very hazardous to children

* Lead paint dust is very hazardous to pregnant women

* Lead paint dust is very hazardous to workers and other adults

* Exposure to lead paint dust causes permanent damage


An estimated 57 million homes in the united states has some trace of lead paint in them and lead is a highly toxic metal.

THE SMALLEST LEAD PAINT DUST PARTICLES CANNOT BE SEEN but they can get into the body and young children are especially at risk to the dangers of lead paint dust in the home, it’s affect on them is quite dramatic. While, children are in their developmental years and their bodies are growing at a much faster rate than that of adults, exposure to lead paint dust in the home is

MORE HARMFUL TO CHILDREN than it is to adults and babies are even more vulnerable. Because, babies tend to do a lot of hand-to-mouth activity, they may swallow or inhale lead paint dust from their hands, toys, food or other objects and compounding the problem is,

LEAD PAINT DUST HAS A SOMEWHAT SWEETISH TASTE to it and we all know how much children love things that taste sweet, so the area in your home with the highest concentration of lead paint dust, could be your child’s favorite spot in the house.

A CHILD’S BRAIN, kidneys and central nervous system are all damaged severely by exposure to lead paint dust; It can cause decreased intelligence, lower iQ , reading, speech, language and learning difficulties, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and the

DAMAGE CAN BE IRREVERSIBLE, affecting children throughout their entire lives. Pregnant women who are exposed to lead paint dust run the risk of damaging their fetus, by passing the lead paint dust from mother to fetus, they are also at a much higher risk for miscarriages.

PREMATURE BIRTHS and babies with low birth weights. Workers and other adults exposed to lead paint dust are at risk for things like high blood pressure, fertility problems, loss of sex drive and or erectile dysfunction in men, muscle or joint pains, nerve disorders, memory loss, concentration problems and physical fatigue. Unfortunately, the symptoms of lead paint dust poisoning are not always obvious.

SYMPTOMS ARE EASILY MISINTERPRETED by medical professionals . thus delaying effective treatment and increasing the likelihood of permanent damage both physically and mentally. The only sure way to determine if there is lead paint dust poisoning in the body is to take a blood test. Lead paint dust poisoning symptoms are often non-specific and are frequently attributed to other causes. However, people with exposure to lead paint dust sometimes complain about these

SPECIFIC SYMPTOMS headaches, stomach aches, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite and joint and or muscle pains. Because many of the symptoms of lead paint dust poisoning are similar to that of the flu parents may not be alerted to get immediate medical attention for their children. This is critical for young children. The longer a young child stays untreated, the higher the risk of them becoming permanently brain damaged.

So how did lead paint dust get into your home?

Prior to 1978 most paints sold in the united states contained some lead, in them. Some paints contained as much as 50% lead, the lead was used to make the paint more durable and give it more brilliance but after the well documented medical effects of lead on the human body was discovered. The federal government banned the use of lead in household paints in 1978. So,

IF YOU HOME WAS BUILT BEFORE 1978, it is more than likely that your home was painted with lead paint and even though it has probably been painted over several times since it was built, beneath all those layers of oil, latex or acrylic paint lies the the culprit, the lead paint and it is the main indoor air hazard. A word of caution here even if your home was built after 1978, it could still have been painted with lead paint because even though

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BANNED the sale of lead paint to consumers in 1978, there was still a lot of lead paint in warehouses and in circulation long after 1978. some was still used in newer construction and even by painting contractors. So be careful.

THE MERE PRESENCE OF LEAD PAINT in your home or apartment is not a problem. It simply means that your home or apartment is not lead free but it should be lead safe. If a home is certified as lead free this means it was tested and has no trace of lead paint or lead hazards . If the home or apartment is certified as lead safe, it may still contain lead paint but has no lead hazards. Lead paint in a

HOME OR APARTMENT IS USUALLY not a problem until it is disturbed, usually either by renovation or some type of damage to the surface that was painted with the lead paint and weather it be walls, ceilings, cabinets, baseboards, doors, radiators, fixtures, etc.. Two other

CONDITIONS IN THE HOME that can really disturb lead paint and create lead paint dust and chips are those old painted windows, every time you open and close them windows the movement of the sashes create friction and that rubbing will cause the paint to peel and create lead paint dust, stands the reason then that more children are probably poisoned on window sills and around windows than at any other spot in the house.

DOORS ARE ANOTHER SOURCE of disturbance, if your door is rubbing up against the frame it will also create friction and the rubbing will cause the paint to peel and spread lead paint dust or chips through out the room. Any of These disturbances will cause lead paint to either flake and or let off lead paint dust, contaminating everything it touches and making them toxic. Children are most often poisoned then either by swallowing the chips, inhaling the dust or licking the dust from their hands. A little dust goes a long way


You can’t see it, even a floor that looks clean can be contaminated with lead paint dust. It’s hard to sweep up normal cleaning methods will not pick up all of the lead paint dust in a given area. Sweeping and vacuuming is not enough. You need to use water, detergent and a HEPA vacuum to clean up lead paint dust effectively.

IT TRAVELS, when lead paint dust and chips are released they are easily tracked around so even peeling or cracking paint on the exterior of the house can be carried to the interior by feet and by air , one gram of lead paint dust can contaminate a large area (yes one gram equal to a packet of sugar). A tiny amount of lead paint dust can be extremely harmful.

ONCE INSIDE THE HOME the lead paint dust can get trapped in carpeting, rugs and upholstery and when you go to sweep , vacuum and perform other household activities the lead paint dust is released in the air where it can be inhaled by children and adults.

EMPLOYING GOOD HOUSEKEEPING techniques can go along way in protecting your family from becoming poisoned by lead paint dust in your home environment, here are a few tips that may help you to be safer in your home.

* Remove shoes before entering your home . Provide mats and storage for outdoor shoes at entry ways.

* Vacuum carpeting , rugs and upholstery regularly. High efficency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums are the best for collecting lead paint dust since conventional vacuums release some dust back into the air where it can be inhaled. Regular vacuuming will keep lead paint dust from accumulating to the point of being a problem. Window frames, sills and wells are often ‘ hot spots ‘ for lead paint dust in the home, vacuuming then wiping these area with detergent will eliminate the lead paint dust. A detergent containing phosphates will work best.

* Remove lose paint only if a very small area is involved, you would then want to mist or moisten the area with water this will help to reduce the spread of dust, begin to carefully scrape peeling paint from the surface and collect the pieces on a drop cloth. Place the debris in a trash bag and seal it tightly for disposal.

* Move children’s furniture and cribs away from unsafe areas, such as damaged walls and window wells.

* Cover crib rails with plastic guards to prevent babies from chewing on paint or varnish.

* Damaged areas on walls may be temporarily covered or patched. Place heavy furniture in front of bad areas until it can be properly repaired.

* Use only residential paint in your home industrial paint may still contain high levels of lead.

* Children should not be left unsupervised in ares where there is lead based paint dust or chips, particularly if they are at an age where they frequently put things in there mouth.

* Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil both are known lead sources.

* When nailing picture hooks into the walls of homes built before 1978, you should take great care to keep lead paint dust from becoming airborne, mist the surface well with water before hammering the nail into the wall. Removing nails and hooks from walls painted with lead paint will generate lead paint dust, so whatever project you are tackling please heed the centers for disease control warning. A speck of lead dust, as small as a grain of sand, is enough to poison a young child.

* Make sure your children are eating healthy. Your child should eat three meals a day in order to grow properly. Low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach, fresh fruits and dairy products are great, children with good diets will absorb less lead in their bodies.

* If the paint in your home is chipped somewhere, this should be corrected immediately by sanding the paint until it is smooth , then priming it and repainting it. This work should be done by a painter who is EPA certified in the renovation repair & painting rule. However, if you plan to do the work yourself here are a

FEW TIPS TO KEEP YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE from lead paint dust. First, remove all furniture, area rugs, curtains, food, clothing and other household items from the work area until clean up is complete. Next, seal off the work area completely with plastic, turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems, cover up any heating/cooling ducks with plastic sheeting and tape the sheeting in place with tape, ducks, can contain lead paint dust for many years.

CLOSE ALL WINDOWS in the work area, do not eat, smoke or drink in the work area and if you are disturbing paint, when using a hand tool, spray water on the lead painted surface to keep the lead paint dust from spreading. Wear protective clothing , such as coveralls, shoe covers, hats, goggles, face shields and gloves. Shower and wash hair immediately after finishing work.

GET TESTED. If you have a child and live in a home that was built before 1978, have you child’s pediatrician perform for a lead test. A simple blood test can determine whether your child has been exposed.