Frequently Asked Questions
12. Are there inexpensive things I can do to protect my family?
|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
Lead is a powerful neurotoxin that interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body organs, particularly the kidneys, red blood cells, and central nervous system. In young children, lead retards the development of the central nervous system and brain.
High levels of lead exposure can result in coma, convulsions, and death. At low levels, lead can cause reduced IQ, reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems. As a result, childhood lead poisoning is associated with lower educational achievement, higher rates of high school drop-out and increased behavioral problems. In the long run, children who are lead poisoned may be less likely to become positive contributors to our communities and our economy.
In Children -- Childhood lead poisoning is the number one environmental health risk for children today. In the United States, more than three million children age six and younger -- that's one out of six -- already have toxic levels of lead in their bodies.
Lead interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body organs, and retards the development of the central nervous system and brain. Lead is sometimes called, "brain poison."
Even tiny amounts of lead can cause reduced IQ, reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems. As a result, lead poisoning is associated with lower educational achievement, higher school drop-out rates, and increased delinquency. It is estimated that lead poisoning has tripled the number of children needing special education.
80% of childhood lead poisoning occurs at home. Many homeowners are not aware of the hazards associated with lead-based paint and unknowingly poison their own children by not following safe work practices during renovation or by not attending to deteriorating and/or chipping paint.
While it is true that many kids get poisoned by eating paint chips -- they taste sweet -- most children are poisoned by invisible lead dust created when lead paint deteriorates from age, is exposed to the elements, is damaged by water, is exposed by friction (such as the opening and closing of a door or window), or during home renovation.
In Adults -- Most adults are poisoned at work. There are laws that seek to prevent this, but many are not yet widely enforced. Any employee who may be exposed to lead in any amount, should have personal air sampling done. (For more information about the OSHA Lead in Construction standard, go to UPDATE.)
3. How big is the problem?
If you're metrically challenged, here's a way to visualize what that means.
Voila! You now have a representation of how much lead it takes to poison a child.
For more information jump to: REMODELING
It is estimated that at least 19 million homes have lead-based paint hazards, of which at least 4 million have young children under age the age of six living in them. (HUD 1990; EPA 1995).
8. What do I have
to do to comply with the Federal disclosure laws?
Usually, no. In most states there are no laws that require you to remove lead paint. (Check with state and local authorities to see if there are more stringent laws where you live.) But, you do have to contend with it. That is "manage it" using approved, lead safe work practices when performing maintenance or repairs.
10. What's the difference between lead-safe and lead-free?
A lead-free home or apartment has no lead (or lead hazards). A lead-safe home or apartment has no lead hazards, but it may still contain lead paint.
11. Will having a Lead-Safe
home increase its value?
2) as mortgage markets require inspections, assessments & lead hazard control plans;
3) as insurance companies develop policies about lead; and,
4) when lawsuits increase across the United States.
Absolutely. Most of us grew up in areas that had earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes. We learned what to do to protect ourselves and "manage" the risk. Lead is no different. You can learn where to look for lead in your home and how to minimize the risk. A simple first step is to call 800-LEAD-FYI to order the pamphlet "Reduce Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home."
13. What is the likelihood
of lead contamination in my drinking water?
According to the EPA, chances of lead in your drinking water are likely to be highest if: your home has faucets or fittings made of brass, or your home or water system has lead pipes, or your home has lead pipes, or copper pipes with lead solder, AND
14. Can I use a do-it-yourself
Jump to the HOME TEST
KIT FACT SHEET for more information.
HEPA (pronounced HEP-ahh) is short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air which is a filter capable of removing particles of 0.3 microns or larger from air at 99.97 per cent or better efficiency. You'll see HEPA filters on air-purifying systems, power tools, and vacuums, both industrial and residential.
When lead paint is disturbed (by opening and closing a window, for instance, or by sanding or scraping, or by the weather), the paint deteriorates by turning into extremely tiny particles of dust. Lead dust particles are too small to be seen by the human eye, and too small to be captured by a regular vacuum. However, HEPA filters trap lead dust.
If you live in a home or apartment that was built before 1978 and are looking at new vacuums, buying one with a HEPA filter is something to seriously consider. There are several on the market that cost less than $200.
16. Will having a
blood lead test tell me if I was exposed to lead as a child?
That's a really good question. The laws should have been passed years ago. The United States and England are the last industrialized nations to address the lead paint issue. The ill-effects of lead are so well documented that Germany, Australia, Japan and many other countries banned the use of lead in residential paint in the early 1920s. France started banning lead in paint in the 1870s.
The removal of lead from gasoline and from the solder in tin cans has had a huge impact. Deaths from lead poisoning, which were quite common, are very rare today. One of the last hurdles is paint in housing. Today, 80% of poisonings are caused by lead paint in homes and apartments built before 1978.
18. What is a
A lead inspection tests every surface inside and outside your home to see if there's lead paint and where it's located. This is important information if you plan to renovate or do repairs that might disturb painted surfaces. (Lead paint under layers of newer non-lead paint is usually not a hazard unless it is disturbed.) A lead inspection does not tell you if the paint is a hazard, it simply tells you where it is.
You should have a lead inspection if you plan to renovate, or plan to remove lead paint (to make the property lead-free), or if a property will be demolished.
20. What is XRF Testing?
Another way is to take paint chip
samples and send them to a laboratory. The problem, of course, is that
doing so leaves holes in the walls. The other problem is cost. Analysis
of one sample usually costs about $20. Because there may be hundreds of
samples taken in a house, the cumulative cost can be quite high.
21. What does a professional lead inspection cost?
XRF paint inspections usually cost between $300-400 for an average size single family detached home. Inspectors use HUD guidelines, even if the property is not part of the HUD system. There simply aren't any other widely accepted guidelines, so HUD recommendations have become the de facto standard.
The final HUD Guidelines require each component in each room (or area) to be tested. For example, in a bedroom the inspector will test the walls, the ceiling, the crown molding, the baseboards, the door, the door frame, the door molding, the window, the window frame, the window sash, the window sill, plus in closets, the shelves, shelf supports, walls, ceiling etc. Often, the inspector will test one or more of the componets multiple times.
A typical three bedroom/2 bath house probably has at least 10 rooms/areas that have to be tested: living room, dining room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, laundry area, hallway, and entry. Realistically, you're looking at 150 to 300 separate XRF shots or tests. At minimum, that will take from 2 to 4 hours. Of course, a lot depends on the number and size of the ruoms, age and condition of the home and amount of painted architectual detail (i.e. chair rails; crown molding; baseboards; built-ins, etc.)
To find out what it will cost to get your home tested contact us (if your are in Southern California) or look in your local phone book under "lead testing services" or "environmental inspections."
Jump to the LEAD TESTING FACT SHEET for more information.
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