Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog

Finding and Correcting Lead in the Home

March 23rd, 2013 7:47 PM by Dan Howard

Lead can be found in stain, varnish, shellac, batteries, pipe solder, lead water supply pipes, and lead solder in copper pipes.   Imported cookware, toys, crayons,  cosmetics and food crops can be a source of lead exposure. Lead acetate is added to many foreign paints and is used as an insecticide on crops.  The evil  of  lead acetate is that it tastes very sweet. It was used as a  wine sweetener in the Roman Empire and is  credited with being the source of the physical and mental decline of the empire.  Paint on a lead acetate painted  toy  with  will taste good.

            Paint, dust in the home, water in the home, and any bare soil outside the home are all items you may need to have surveyed for lead. The problem still remains that  the exposure that raises a child’s lead level could be  caused by  contaminated toys at a day care center or other source.  Without proof of that fact, the owner of an apartment  may still be required to pay for alternative housing, testing and remediation of the living space. 

            Lead based residential  paint in the United States was banned in 1978 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This was done after the  failure to control lead dust from paint in housing.

            The initial efforts at dealing with lead based paint in the home relied upon  paint removal as a way to eliminate contamination. Unfortunately, the process of stripping, sanding and removing lead paint usually put more lead into the home. Sealing  contaminated surfaces,  dust removal, and  protection of high friction  surfaces such as windows, and  good housekeeping  were the most effective means of reducing lead exposure. Cleaning floor, wall and window  surfaces will reduce lead levels.

Posted in:General
Posted by Dan Howard on March 23rd, 2013 7:47 PM



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