What is lead? Why is it a problem?
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around both residential and commercial buildings. The U.S. began restricting its usage in 1978. Lead was an ideal material to use because of its durability for both paint and plumbing fixtures. The primary sources of lead exposure include, but are not limited to, paint, dust, soil, and water. The route of entry for lead is usually ingestion. Children are especially at risk. Firstly, lead-based paint chips have a sweet pleasant flavor, and children crawling on their hands and knees can easily gather paint chips or dust on their hands. Soil is a concern if lead-based paint chips or dust are released into the soil where edible plants are growing, as the lead can leach into the food. Also, food or liquid stored in leaded crystal or lead-glazed pottery has the ability to absorb lead and create a hazard for anyone consuming the product within. Water is a potential source from old plumbing fixtures as well as runoff from contaminated soil. Lead-based paint can be inhaled in the form of dust, or vapors if burned.
What are the health effects of lead exposure?
Lead affects the central nervous system by negatively impacting IQ levels, causing behavioral problems, and causing learning disabilities. The digestive system and kidneys can also be affected as well as the reproductive systems of both men and women. Lead is absorbed, similar to calcium, into the bones and teeth. If concerned about possible exposure, it is recommended that a blood test be taken by a primary physician and a BLL (Blood Lead Level) be performed.
When is lead a problem?
Generally speaking, intact lead-based paint poses a minimal hazard. When lead-based paint is peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, or otherwise in a deteriorated state, it can be a potential problem. It can be a problem on friction surfaces that include painted surfaces that are often disturbed such as door frames and windows where painted surfaces are constantly rubbed and may begin to create dust.
What can American Air Testing do for me?
Surfaces both inside and outside of residential and commercial building painted prior to 1978 are presumed to be coated with lead-based paint. American Air Testing can prove whether the paint contains lead or does not. This testing should be performed if renovations, repair work, or painting projects that will disturb more than 6 square feet are planned so that proper abatement can be performed by a contractor with RRP (Renovation, Repair, and Painting) lead training, as required by the EPA. Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the potential exposure to the occupants of the building. Testing for lead-based paint may be beneficial if there is a general concern of lead-based paint due to the age of the building and potential exposure for young children. American Air Testing can also perform a clearance inspection after an RRP trained contractor has done the removal to ensure that no lead containing debris remains.