Lead Based Paint Hazards

Part 1 of a series of articles on lead based paint hazards in the home.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), if you live in a home that was built prior to 1978 there is a good chance that lead based paint was used on this inside and outside of your home.  Prior to 1978 lead based paints were commonly used in homes because the paint provided a superior quality finish.  Lead based paints had more vibrant colors and were more durable.  Despite these highly desirable qualities of lead based paint, there is a downside.  As lead based paint deteriorates it creates lead dust or more succinctly a lead paint hazard.  The standard for lead contaminated dust on a floor is 40 micro-grams per square foot of floor space.  A micro-gram is 1000th of gram or to put it into perspective that is equal to one sugar packet (5 grams) divided up 200 times.  As you can see it doesn’t take much to reach the level which the California Department of Public Health considers a lead paint hazard.  So far, I have established lead based paint was commonly used in older homes and has the potential to create a lead based paint hazard.

Lead Paint Hazards

Lead Based Paint Hazard

Lead based paint hazards?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) children with a blood level of 5 micro-grams per deciliter (5ug/DL) have reached a level of concern.  Lead dust which is on floors often will find its way onto children’s hands and toys which regularly contact their mouth and cause inadvertent lead ingestion.  According to HUD, ingestion is the number one route of exposure for children under six which are most at risk because of their exposure to playing with toys near the floor level and their rapidly developing brain and nervous systems.  They go on to state that elevated blood lead levels may result in poor brain development, lower IQ, hyperactivity, attention span, hearing problems, and many other symptoms.  In worst case, extremely elevated blood lead levels can lead to convulsions, coma and death.  Lead is toxic to every organ in the body.  To further complicate matters, lead accumulates in the bones of the body as our bodies cannot distinguish between calcium and lead when in the blood.  When there is lead in your blood it will be stored in your bones and then released back into your blood when your body signals your bones to release calcium for metabolic reasons at which time the lead continues to damage your nervous system and other organs.  Read Part II

About the author:  Steve Ramos Certified Home Inspector, Council Certified Mold Consultant, Lead, and Asbestos

Steve Ramos is a certified inspector possessing multiple credentials in asbestos,lead based paint, mold, infrared thermography, and general building inspection. Steve has lived in Petaluma, Ca for most of his life and has over 12 years of home inspection, mold inspection, asbestos, and lead field experience.  Steve has a very diverse and well rounded background.  His reports are detailed, accurate, and timely.  Steve has been featured on over 104 episodes of HGTV’s House Detective.  He offers his services in all nine Bay Area counties including:  Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Novato, San Rafael, Napa, Sausalito, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Bodega Bay, and Cloverdale.

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