If your home was built earlier than 1978, it probably contains lead paint. The same goes for vintage children’s toys, furniture and shelves purchased at flea markets or found in grandma’s attic. Lead-based paint was banned federally in 1978,  with some states instituting an earlier ban, but it was widely used throughout the United States until that date. Lead-based paint remains one of the most common causes of lead poisoning, making it especially dangerous for young children who may chew on objects containing the paint.

Why Was Lead Used in Paint?

Lead was added to paint for several reasons. Compounds in lead were used for color pigments and helped the paint spread to cover a larger area. It also made the paint more flexible and resistant to cracking. Because lead is insoluble in water, it also helped to create a washable paint that was durable and fade resistant. Originally, lead paint was used for painting wood and giving the molding and woodwork around doors and windows a sheen that was easy to care for.

Why is Lead Paint Toxic?

Lead disrupts a number of body functions, primarily those that affect learning and brain development, making it extremely dangerous for young children who are most likely to ingest it. It displaces other minerals in the body, such as calcium, zinc and iron, and prevents them from doing their job. When it displaces zinc, it reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen and leaves the body oxygen deprived. It also blocks glutamate receptors. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for learning. Lead poisoning can lead to a host of physical, neurological and developmental disorders, many of which are irreversible.

Should You Worry About Lead Paint in Your Home?

Many people assume that if they do not have small children in the home that the presence of lead paint is not an issue. While it is true that children represent the highest risk for lead poisoning, it can affect anyone. Dust from lead paint can contaminate your home and pose a risk for both adults and children. Likewise, lead paint poses a risk to pregnant women and to visitors who may have small children. If you are looking forward to entertaining the grandkids in the future, be responsible and get rid of lead paint now.

How Do You Know If Your Home Has Lead Paint?

If your home was built before 1978, the chances of having lead paint on the walls are good. If you do not know how old your home is, or if it was built within a few years of this time, you might have it in your home. The only way to know for sure is to have your home tested. Check with your local health or housing department to find out if they provide discounted inspections for lead paint. Otherwise contact a local construction or painting company.

How Do You Get Rid of Lead Paint?

It may be tempting to grab a scraper and remove the old paint yourself, but this will only make your problems worse. Lead paint must be removed by a wet scrape and is best left to the professionals who have the skill and expertise to get the job done without filling your home with lead-contaminated dust.

The Painting Company can assess your home and get your lead paint sealed and safe for your family. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate.