Lead-Based Paint – What Every Person Should Know!


It is becoming increasingly popular to buy older homes, both for their historical significance and their charm. Although most professional home painters can tell you that the charming bungalow you just moved into may hold some hazards you were not aware of. If your home was built before 1978 and has not been serviced by professional home painters in recent years, there is a strong chance that it contains lead-based paint. This is definitely not something to take lightly. Following are some of the things you should be aware of with regards to this dangerous material.

Lead-based Paint History

The use of white lead-based paint began as far back as Colonial times. Its use peaked in the early 1920's, and by the 1940's, it was becoming less prevalent in home interiors. Professional home painters continued to use this substance for many years after this because of its continued availability. While painters have not used this type of paint since 1978, it is estimated that 40 percet of existing homes in the U.S. contain lead-based paint on some surfaces.

The Problem

The reason why lead-based paint became so popular in the first place was because of the many desirable qualities it demonstrated. Adding lead to paint made it more durable, faster-drying, and moisture-resistant. Unfortunately, medical knowledge began to bypass design progress, and it was soon established that this material was both toxic and dangerous. Medical studies began to show that long-term exposure to the paint could cause damage to the brain and nervous system - especially in children. Recent studies show that 1 in 11 children have high levels of lead in their systems, which is why this is something that must be taken very seriously.

Even if you live in a newer home, or think the interior might have been treated recently by professional home painters, you may still have an issue if you are an antique furniture buff as this material was often used on antique furniture. Therefore, it is imperative to consider all of the surfaces in your home. If there is any doubt, a professional can be hired to test the surfaces in your home, or you can pick up a test kit at your local hardware store and do it yourself.

The issue of lead-based paint should always be taken into consideration, whether hiring home painters in the near future or not. Any contractor work that involves scraping or sanding can create a toxic, lead-based cloud in your living space. In fact, this sort of dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. If you are planning on painting, simply painting over lead-based paint is not a recommended, long-term solution. There are new laws now in place designed to protect homeowners. Yet this may also make dealing with this issue an even bigger challenge.

New EPA Rules

In 2010, the EPA passed the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) that requires any firm or professional painters who work in homes built before 1978 to be certified in how to properly handle lead-based paint. If you are a homeowner with an older home that could have lead-based paint, it is essential that you only deal with professional home painters who are "EPA Lead-Safe Certified" so that all painting services and/or renovations meet EPA guidelines. This is even more importantl when it comes to ensuring the safety of your family. It has been determined that even a small amount of dust or dust chips from this material is enough to put a person at risk.

Lead-based paint is something that must be taken seriously, and should be handled immediately. While there is a time and place for "do-it-yourself" projects, the removal of lead paint is definitely not one of them. When you are looking for home painters, make sure the painters you hire are certified to do the job safely and correctly!

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Additional Articles:

Why Consider Exterior and Interior House Painters?

Painting Contractors - How to Find the Right One!

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