Lead-based paint was once a standard household product, used in everything from children’s toys to house paint. It gives the paint a vivid color and helps protect it from moisture. But what many people don’t know is that lead-based paint is extremely dangerous, especially to young children.
In fact, lead-based paint is so dangerous that it has been banned in the United States since 1978. Despite its dangers, it can still be found in homes across the country.
Houses built before 1978 have a high chance that it contains lead-based paint. You can also be exposed to lead if you or someone in your house works in auto repair, mining, battery manufacturing, construction, and other fields that use lead.
If you have young children, it’s essential to take steps to protect them from exposure to lead. Here are some tips on how to keep your family safe.
Understanding The Health Risks Of Lead Exposure
Lead poisoning causes severe health hazards, especially for childer under the age of six. Some of these harmful effects are:
- Brain damage and learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems like hyperactivity
- Delayed growth
- Kidney damage
- Reproductive problems
Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning include:
- Low birth weight and slow growth for newborns
- Vomiting, weight loss, seizures, constipation, and abdominal pain in kids
- High blood pressure, mood disorders, joint and muscle pain in adults
Identifying Lead-Containing Paint In Your Home
To protect your family from lead-based paint hazards, you must identify if your home contains it. You can hire a certified professional to test for the presence of lead paint in your home.
If you find that your home does contain lead paint, don’t panic. You can take the following steps to protect your family from further exposure to the dangers of leaded paint.
Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead Paint
If you suspect that your family is at risk from long-term exposure to lead paint, then do the following:
- Keep your home clean and free of household dust and dirt. Regularly sweep and mop floors and vacuum carpets—wet-wipe surfaces like windowsills and ledges to remove dust buildup. Lead is most dangerous when it’s inhaled.
- Repair any cracked or peeling paint in your home. If you’re unsure how to do this yourself, hire a certified professional who specializes in repairing damaged lead paint. Kids are usually exposed to lead through cracked paint chips.
- Cover any areas of exposed lead paint with wallpaper or fabric tape. This will help prevent toxic lead dust and deteriorated paint chips from becoming airborne and coming into contact with your family members. Use warm water and soap to scrub all hand surfaces thoroughly.
- Make sure everyone in your family takes their shoes off at the door when they enter the house. This will help prevent tracking dirt and debris into the house, which can become airborne and contaminate surfaces.
- Contact your local health department or talk to your doctor about testing yourself or your child for blood lead levels. Early detection is key when it comes to treating lead poisoning effectively.
- Run cold water for at least a minute if you have old plumbing. They can contain lead pipes. When making baby formula or cooking, always use cold tap water.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Good nutrition helps lower lead absorption and gives children enough nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, and iron to prevent lead absorption.
Be On The Look Out
Although lead paint has been banned for decades, it can still be found in residential housing and old apartment buildings across the country. Workers in auto repair shops and battery manufacturing plants can also be exposed to lead and bring them home.
If not correctly taken care of, lead paint exposure can be dangerous, especially for kids. Taking the necessary precautions and being informed can protect your family from harm.
For more safety articles, you can check out the Be Safe blog.
Daisy is the engine behind Be-Safe.org — from content production to product reviews and more. What drives her is the passion to make home security information easily available.