Get educated on Lead Paint!
If you property was built before 1980 then you need to read this!
Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, particularly in infants. It should not be taken lightly. Understanding it, and taking it seriously are important steps to protecting the tenants from health issues and the owner from lawsuits.
We are embarrassed to say that when lead-based paint got on the radar we were skeptical and laughed it off. We didn't understand the seriousness of it. We thought it was big government meddling in our business. Once we discovered the effects lead poisoning has on children, we stopped laughing and became dead serious on the issue.
History of lead paint
Lead poisoning's biggest claim to fame dates back to the Roman Empire. Apparently the Romans discovered this soft metal that could be formed and molded into cylindrical pipe shapes and could be used for transporting water from place to place. And they died from it. (Granted, they also died from a lot of other things -- such as invading marauders. But the lead poisoning was already sickening their society.)
Then sometime after WWII lead was added to paint. Paint with lead in it could be applied much easier and provided greater coverage. But by 1976, tests and studies started to show that lead poisoning was causing behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and in extreme cases, death in humans. Not a good thing.
By 1978 the US government outlawed the use of lead in paint. They found that infants and small children were ingesting lead when they chewed on painted pipes, cabinets, and other painted surfaces in homes. Children are children, and the young ones will put anything in their mouth!
But not all inventories of paint were used up by the end of 1978. Some lead-based paint still found its way into the marketplace as late as 1980. We do not have any direct proof of this claim, but it should be assumed, from a safety perspective, that a pre-1980 property may have lead paint.
Lead poisoning is a serious matter. All precautions should be taken. That is why even though the government recognizes 1978 as the official "cutoff" date for lead paint, we stretch it to 1980.
EPA Lead Paint Disclosure
In 1992 Congress realized something needed to be done to get the word out about lead poisoning. Too many babies and children were getting sick. They passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act(also known as Title X), which required landlords and seller of residential proeprty to disclose known information about property built prior to 1978.
Since then the EPA has produced a brochure titled "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home". This brochure is very helpful in understanding the dangers presented by the presence of lead paint in a home.
Nowaday, 35 plus years after the fact, most lead paint has either been discarded or covered over. It is rare to find a gallon of paint in an old garage or barn dating back that far. Even if there is one, the paint has likely dried up by now.
But if it hasn't then it should be transported immediately to authorities. DO NOT THROW THIS PAINT IN THE TRASH. It will poison the landfill and landfills eventually drain into water supplies.
By far the most dangerous exposure to lead paint and lead poisoning comes from peeling paint. We've all seen it — a window sill or eave with layers and layers of paint that has been neglected or taken by the elements and is now showing multiple layers of paint. At the bottom of that mess lies the potential of lead-based paint that was applied years and years ago.
That peeling paint can easily flake off and get into food, lungs, water sources, or any other number of intrusion vehicles.
We are now an EPA-approved Certified Lead Paint Renovator. What that means is that if your property was built before 1978 and has lead paint then there are some very specific measures that need to be taken to limit the exposure of the lead paint to humans, particularly children.
We have been trained to handle lead paint safely so it does not become a liability to you, your children, or your neighbors. Anyone can paint a house. But if they aren't certified they can expose you and themselves to not only heavy fines but also serious health risks.
So why take chances with something so dangerous. We can help you take care of the lead paint safely, securely, and without risk.
If you are concernted that an area may be contaminated by lead paint, there are kits available online or at hardware stores for measuring the presence of lead. You can also consult the yellow pages or the internet for professional testers who can take samples and test for the presence of lead.
If you own an older home and the paint has been well taken care of then you probably have nothing to worry about. As long as the lead paint is sealed under layers and layers of latex or oil-based paint, then it is sealed and cannot get into the food, water, or air. It is only when there is peeling paint in older buildings that care and concern should be raised.
If there is a small amount of peeling paint, it may be OK to try to take care of it yourself. (Consult local laws.) If so, be sure to wear a good respirator mask, gloves, and body coverings (Tyvek suit). Contain the work area and collect the paint chips in a sealed plastic bag or HEPA vacuum cleaner. Call local authorities for directions to an approved hazardous waste disposal site. Do NOT throw it away in the garbage no matter how easy or convenient it may be. Childrens' lives are at stake.
If the contaminated area is fairly large then you are looking at getting professional remediation. Do not attempt to clean it up yourself. Not only is it dangerous, but it may be illegal! There are certified lead contamination experts who have the equipment, protection, knowledge, and licenses to remove and dispose the lead safely.
We provide a variety of indoor and outdoor painting services and other maintenance services to the residential sector. To receive a free quote, or just get some advice, call us at (206) 992-6637 or send us an email with your question and we'll be glad to answer your question and/or give you a bid.