Why Is Lead Paint So Bad? - House Painting in the D.C. Area
Most of us live with a sense that companies and agencies are over-cautious, and tend to over-warn us about all kinds of potential hazards and dangers. However, we also know that some dangers are very real, and some warnings are necessary. So, which is it with lead paint? Is it the big deal people make it out to be? What is so bad about lead paint?
Yes, lead paint really is a big deal. When lead from our walls finds its way into our bodies, it can cause improper brain development and other significant, permanent problems. It is most dangerous for children and for pregnant women, those we should be most concerned to protect.
How Does Lead Paint Get Into People's Bodies?
While the paint is securely on the walls, no one needs to be concerned. However, when lead-based paint is disturbed by sanding, drilling, renovation or demolition, it releases dust into the air. This lead-laden dust settles over the surfaces of the home, like doorknobs, tables, books, and children's toys. From there, it gets on our hands and into our mouths. Of course, children, who are the most vulnerable to the danger, are also the ones most likely to get lead contamination, since they put things in their mouths so much.
In addition to lead dust, there is significant danger when lead paint begins to crack, chip, and peel. Those little chunks of paint that come off an old wall, whether interior or exterior, can also end up entering a child's system by similar means.
How Can I Tell if My Home Has Lead Paint?
Lead-based paint was officially made illegal in 1978, though its use tapered off gradually in the years leading up to then. Any home built before that year could potentially have lead paint. The older the home is, the more it has been repainted over the years, and the more likely it is to have lead-based paint.
If you want to test and be sure, many home-improvement stores sell test kits that you can use at home to determine the presence of lead, or you can order kits online.
Is It OK to Paint Over Lead Paint?
In most cases, lead paint does not need to be removed; you can paint over it as long as it is not cracking or peeling. However, one of the most important aspects of house painting is careful surface preparation, and this process can easily release lead dust. That's why it is important that you hire a lead-safe certified contractor to paint your home if you have lead-based paint on the walls.
Remember that, even if you paint over that lead-based paint, the lead is still there on your walls. You are protected from it by the new paint, but sanding, drilling, or other forms of disturbance will still break that barrier and potentially expose your family to lead contamination.
EPA Certified Lead-safe Contractor in Northern VA and the D.C. Area
For homeowners living in Northern Virginia, in Maryland, and in the Washington, D.C. area, Williams Professional Painting is trained and equipped to safely work in lead-contaminated homes. We are certified by the EPA as a lead-safe contractor, meaning we can safely provide the following services in homes that contain lead paint:
- Interior Painting
- Exterior Painting
- Drywall and Plaster Repair
- Popcorn Ceiling Removal
- Wood Refinishing
- And more!
Williams Professional Painting is a quality painting contractor serving homes and businesses in the Alexandria area since 1979. If you would like a free estimate for residential painting, give us a call!