Houses built before 1978:  Have you done your lead risk assessment?

“The World Health Organization’s 2021 update of the Public health impact of chemicals: knowns and unknowns estimate that nearly half of the 2 million lives lost to known chemicals exposure in 2019 were due to lead exposure. Lead exposure is estimated to accounts for 21.7 million years lost to disability and death (disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs) worldwide due to long-term effects on health, with 30% of the global burden of idiopathic intellectual disability, 4.6% of the global burden of cardiovascular disease and 3% of the global burden of chronic kidney diseases.”

-WHO Report

Are you looking for a lovely house in the lowest range and don’t want to invest a huge amount? Definitely buy but also get a lead risk assessment done.

Buying a 40-45-year-old home at a low price will draw more attention to you. There are many old houses for sale in the housing market, which come with more sqft area with attractive prices. Many people love to buy on their budgets. Surely, It is really a good deal as compared to living in a rental home that you will be able to live in your own house with full rights.

Many people in the main cities are interested to buy old houses at a lower price because rents are going high, and these are good options for them. But do you know that homes build before 1978 have lead-based paint, and it could be a hazard to your family’s health?

“Many homes, including private, federally-assisted, federally-owned housing, and childcare facilities built before 1978 have lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government in the USA banned consumer use of lead-containing paint. You do the home roof, drainage system, and other associated risk assessments before buying homes, but have you ever done a lead risk assessment?”

Probably you are wondering what is wrong with lead, and what does it have to do with old buying options? However, you must keep in mind that lead in paint, dust, or soil can be hazardous to your health, especially for children under six. It is also harmful to your unborn child if you are exposed to lead.   

What is Lead?

The earth’s crust contains small amounts of lead naturally. Despite its beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals.

We can find lead in all parts of our environment, including air, soil, water, and even inside our homes. Many of our exposures are due to human activities, including the use of fossil fuels, past use of leaded gasoline, and lead-based paint in homes.

There are many products found in and around our homes that contain lead or lead compounds, including paint, ceramics, pipes, plumbing materials, soldiers, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.

Lead-based paint was banned by the federal government in 1978, but some states banned it even earlier. The lead-based paint is still present in millions of homes, usually under coatings of more recent paint. You can read about lead-related rules and regulations at https://www.epa.gov/lead/lead-laws-and-regulations

Only 45% of countries have introduced legally binding controls on lead paint.

Read about excessive sodium risk in children at https://journals-times.com/2022/12/06/excessive-sodium-save-your-child-from-heart-related-problems/

red and brown house

What is the Health hazard caused by Lead?

Lead exposure is known to cause harm at any level in children and adults. The brain, liver, kidney, and bones are the primary sites where lead is stored in the body. Over time, it accumulates in teeth and bones. It is usually possible to assess human exposure to lead by measuring lead levels in the blood.

Getting exposed to lead must be prevented. Talk to your doctor or health provider about the health risk of lead if you moved into the old home recently.

There are many ways to get lead into your body.

The possibility of breathing lead may arise if you are involved in renovations, repairs, or painting activities that disturb painted surfaces.

It is possible that you swallow lead dust that has settled on food, food preparation surfaces, and other places.

Kids can get lead by eating paint chips or soil that contains lead.

How Lead-exposure harms children?

  • Nervous system and kidney damage
  • Speech, language, and behavior problems
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Hearing damage
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention -deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence
  • Decreased muscle and bone growth
  • Children, who are under the age of 6, are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
  • Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead.
  • Read more about lead poisoning at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/lead-poisoning-and-health

In 1978, the federal government banned toys, and other children products, and furniture with lead-containing paint. In 2008, the federal government banned lead in most children products.

In adults, what is the risk of lead exposure?

  • Women with a high level of lead in their system before or during pregnancy risk exposing the fetus to lead through the placenta during fetal development.
  • Fertility problems in men and women
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve disorder
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Muscles and joint pain
  • Digestive problems
old, and beautiful wooden houses with lawns
Old, and beautiful wooden houses with lawns

How can you check that your house has a lead?

  1. Get your home tested if you think it has old or coated paint.
  2. You can check with the lead risk assessment team. A lead-based inspection tells you if your home has lead-based paint and where it is located.
  3. A trained and certified testing professional called a lead-based paint inspector will conduct a paint inspection using methods such as an XRF machine and lab test of paint, dust, and soil samples.
  4. If you want to renovate, repair, or painting work in a pre-1978 home, must hire a certified firm approved by EPA or EPA-authorized state program. You can check the authorized firm or find the EPA -approved firm at https://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/pub/index.cfm?do=main.firmSearchAbatement
  5. “Lead-based paint” is currently defined by the federal government as paint with lead levels greater than or equal to 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm), or more than 0.5% by weight.
  6. “lead-containing paint” is currently defined by the federal government as the lead in newly dried paint in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm) by weight.
  7. Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition and if it is not on an impact or friction surface like a window.
  8. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scrapped, sanded, or heated. Also, it forms when painted surfaces containing lead bumps, or rub together.
  9. Peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, or damaged paint is a hazard and need immediate attention.

House before 1986 could be a source of lead in drinking water.

  • Lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures are the most common source of lead in drinking water.
  • You can’t taste or smell lead in drinking water.
  • Lead pipes are most likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986.
  • Your area’s water company can also provide information about the level of lead in your system’s drinking water.
  • You can call your local health department or water company to find out about testing your water.
  • For more information about lead in drinking water, you can contact EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

If you are a homeowner of the property, build before 1978,  hire a lead-safe certified contractor who is certified and trained in lead-safe work practices, meaning a group of techniques to prevent lead exposure resulting from renovation and repair activities. 

You can prevent dangerous lead dust from spreading throughout your home with the following DIY lead-safe work practices:

Get a blood test: If you are concerned about being exposed to lead, get your blood tested. The Centers for Disease Control believes that blood lead levels at or above 10 ug/dL are dangerous to children.

toxic effect of lead

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