In the past, the allure of lead paint was its ability to retain color and provide a more lustrous, glossy finish. Because it was found to cause significant harm to humans, the United States banned lead paint in 1978. Any home that was built prior to 1978 may include some lead primer or paint.
The human body can be affected by ingesting or breathing dust from lead paint or fumes from burning materials containing lead paint. Lead exposure can result in lead poisoning and could make the systems of the body fail by causing anemia, seizures, impaired muscle movement and vision problems. A large amount of lead in the nervous system can impact physical movement and cause developmental disabilities.
Which homes have lead paint?
The federal government banned the sale of lead-based paint in 1978, giving many people the impression that a house built after that time is free and clear. But that is not always the case. Without a lead paint inspection, it’s quite difficult to spot lead-based paint just by looking at it, but if you see a pattern on your walls that look like scales, then that’s a sign that you may have lead paint on your walls. If you are unsure, have a professional perform a lead paint inspection.
Testing for Lead Paint
If you definitely suspect lead paint exists in your home, you can get a testing kit from your local hardware store.
As part of the test, you rub a special topical solution on the wall and if it turns pink, lead paint is on your walls. This type of test is limited though – if the walls were covered with new paint on top of the lead based paint, the test won’t work. It’s also wise to investigate baseboards, closets and window sashes for lead paint, not just the walls.
If you need further information about lead paint or a lead paint inspection, contact The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Lead Information Center at www.epa.gov/lead; 1-800-424-LEAD.