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Frequently Asked Questions about Lead Testing

The team at Lead Safe would like to help you gain as much information as possible concerning the safety of your home. The following are some frequently asked questions that have been posed to us in the past. We’ll answer them as thoroughly and simply as we can and will include additional information so that you can educate your household about the facts and myths surrounding the metal we know as “lead.”

What are the new Lead Based Paint testing regulations that took effect on April 22nd, 2010 and how do they potentially affect me?

This is a more complex question than you might think. There are federal, state, and city regulations that now govern the testing, mitigation, removal, and abatement of paint containing lead on the interior and exterior of residential dwellings built prior to 1978. These laws also govern any renovations, remodels, or painting to be performed on these structures as well.

In 1992 Congress passed Title X (The Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act) which shifted the focus of federal legislation to preventing lead-based paint hazards from occurring. This act defined lead-based paint as “paint, varnish, shellac, or other coating on surfaces that contain 1.0mg per square centimeter or more of lead or 0.5% or more lead by weight.” It defines a lead-based paint hazard as “any condition that causes exposure to lead-contaminated dust, soil, or paint that is deteriorated or present in accessible surfaces.” And it defines a lead-based paint inspection as “a surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence of lead-based paint.”

What this means for you if you’re a person who occupies a residential dwelling is that it may be a good idea to find out when the dwelling was constructed. If it was built prior to 1978 you must BY LAW assume that lead-based paint has been used on and in the structure. Think of it as guilty until proven innocent. And that’s what we at Lead Safe Testing do. We utilize state-of-the-art X-Ray Flourescence technology to prove your dwelling’s innocence or confim its guilt. The possible presence of lead-based paint in your home is an opportunity to make your family safer. Having an EPA certified lead-based paint test performed at your residence is the only way to find out if your home is exposing your family to unacceptable levels of lead. It is our job to make you aware and give you the information to prevent your family’s continued exposure to lead.

What are the health effects of lead exposure?

The health effects of lead exposure vary with the level of lead that has been consumed and whether the person has been exposed once to a high level of lead or for a long period of time to low levels of lead. The three systems in your body that are most negatively affected by lead are the central & peripheral nervous system, the cardiovcascular system, and the kidneys. Some effects of lead exposure for adults:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Reproductive problems including infertility in men and women
  • Anemia
  • Nerve damage
  • Memory & concentration problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Brain damage
  • Coma (in extreme cases)
  • Death (in extreme cases)

Substantially more problematic and alarming are the effects on children under age seven when exposed to lead. Even small amounts can cause severe reactions. Children are more sensitive to lead poisoning because they lack the blood / brain barrier in adults, and they have smaller volumes of blood in their bodies to disburse harmful toxins. Some effects of lead exposure for children (even small quantities):

  • Learning disabilities & behavioral problems
  • Interference with ability to make red blood cells
  • Less ability to use vitamin D
  • Mental retardation
  • Coma, seizures, kidney damage, anemia (greater exposure levels)
  • Death (greater exposure levels)

How does lead enter the body?

Lead is most often inhaled as lead dust or accidentally ingested through normal hand-to-mouth activities (especially in children). Once it has entered the body it can take decades to be filtered out. This is why elimnating as much exposure as possible is extremely important.