Did you know the following facts about lead?
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.
FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.
Health Effects of Lead
Where is Lead Found?
In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.
Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead can be found:
Where is Lead Likely to be a Hazard?
Note: Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard.
Checking Your Family and Home for Lead
To reduce your child’s exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested (especially if your home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978), and fix any hazards you may have.
Your doctor can explain what the test results mean and if more testing will be needed.
You can get your home checked in one of two ways (or both):
Have qualified professionals do the work. There are standards in place for certifying lead-based paint professionals to ensure that the work is done safely, reliably and effectively. Be sure to ask your InterNACHI inspector about lead paint during your next inspection. Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:
Note: Home test kits for lead are available, but studies suggest that they are not always accurate. Consumers should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Family
If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family’s risk:
REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER, SINCE THEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition, you can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as repairing damaged and painted surfaces, and by planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions, called “interim controls,” are not permanent solutions and will need ongoing attention. To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a certified lead-abatement contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not enough. Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems — someone who knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules set by their state or the federal government. To be safe, hire an InterNACHI inspector trained in lead detection for your next inspection.
Are You Planning to Buy or Rent a Home Built Before 1978?
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint). Lead from paint, chips and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying pre-1978 housing.
If not conducted properly, certain types of renovations can release lead from paint and dust into the air.
Another Reason to Test for Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places requirements on construction that might involve LBP. In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed House Bill 2134, which charged the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and CCB with operating the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program. On May 3, 2010, the EPA approved the state program, which requires contractors performing RRP projects in pre-1978 homes are trained and certified to follow lead-safe rules and work practices. Failure to comply with the RRP program can result in fines of up to $5,000 for contractors.
The way to comply with Oregon’s lead paint rules is to measure the amount of lead present to determine whether it meets the EPA and state-mandated “action level” of 1.0 mg/cm2. Any surface containing lead-based paint at or above this action level which will be disturbed during your renovation project must be handled according to RRP Program rules by a Certified Lead-Based Paint Renovation Contractor. Anything under this action level does not require any special licensing or work practices for the contractors renovating your home.
How HomeCheck Can Help
At HomeCheck, the actual lead-based paint testing is done using a portable x-ray instrument called an X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer (XRF). The XRF is considered the best field testing method available to inspectors today. It offers the accuracy of x-ray technology, speed (most readings take less than 5 seconds), and causes no damage. The XRF reads through multiple layers of paint and substrates to reveal the exact amount of lead present in a wall. The XRF measures the amount of lead in paint and provides the inspector with a digital read-out that specifies which components of the home (if any) contain lead above the action level.
Due to the special nature of the analyzer, strict state and federal licensing is required, and a limited number of individuals use this technology; because our business is professional home inspections, our clients experience the accuracy, efficiency and unbiased results of the highest-quality LBP inspections by a Certified Lead-Based Paint Inspector, using an XRF Analyzer.
Each lead inspection by HomeCheck includes a professional, computerized report, and the friendly, prompt and courteous service on which our reputation since our start in home inspections in 2001 has been built.
Inspected Once, Inspected Right®