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  • Writer's pictureAardvark Home Inspectors

Lead-Based Paint & Your Home Inspection

Lead-based paint is the leading cause of lead poisoning in the US, which is why in 1978 the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-based containing paint. If your home was built prior to 1978 there is a good chance that it has lead-based paint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1977 contain lead-based paint, 69% of homes built between 1940 and 1959, and approximately 87% of homes built before 1940. Lead can be found in more areas than just paint. It can be found in dust, water, water pipes, soil, pottery, computers, cosmetics, and even older children's toys. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few examples.

So, what's the danger with Lead?  Lead can build up in the body, and poses a particular risk to the physical and mental development of children, but can also be fatal at high levels to everyone. Symptomatically it may present itself differently in babies, children, and adults. In children, it can cause difficulties in learning, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, developmental delays, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, hearing loss, seizures, and more. Babies exposed to lead before birth might be born prematurely, have lower birth weights, and experience slowed growth. And, although children and babies are at particular risk to lead poisoning, adults may experience high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, memory loss, difficulties concentrating, headaches, abdominal pain, mood disorders, and more. When should you get a lead-based paint inspection? The Federal government banned the use of lead paint in consumer products in 1978. Any home built before then potentially has lead paint on either an exterior or interior surface (even if it is below several layers of newer paint). Landlords and sellers are required by law to disclose any lead paint hazards though an inspection is recommended to verify any concerns. If you are renovating your home, the EPA has guidelines in place to protect you and your community from lead dust contamination. There are many ways to prevent lead exposure, and while I could list them here, this is simply an introduction to Lead-based paint and the potential risks involved.

What you can expect from a lead-based paint inspection. Hire the right company.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a strict set of guidelines that inspectors must follow. Uncertified inspectors may put you at risk for lead exposure through incomplete or inaccurate test findings. Furthermore, a combined lead-based paint inspection and risk assessment can give you the information you need to keep your family safe.   Know the difference.  A lead-based paint inspection is different than a lead risk assessment. An inspection will check the surfaces inside and outside your home to let you know if and where lead paint is located. Lead paint that is in good condition, and can remain undisturbed, is not necessarily considered a hazard. A risk assessment, on the other hand, will let you know if there are lead paint hazards. A risk assessment will also provide an action plan to mitigate lead paint hazards. What to expect.  With a combined lead-based paint inspection and risk assessment, a certified inspector will thoroughly examine your home. A portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine is one of the most common methods of lead paint detection, but a trained assessor will also send paint, dust, and soil samples to a lab for more thorough testing.

For more information on lead, lead-paint testing, remediation, and prevention of poisoning contact us at any time. AARDVARK HOME INSPECTORS INC. LEAD PAINT TESTING SERVICE


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