Is Lead Paint Dangerous? Frequently Asked Questions about Lead-Based Paint
Most people here in the Washington, D.C. area are aware that lead paint is not something we want to be exposed to. However, there are some specific questions about the dangers of lead paint that people often ask or search for answers to online. As a painting contractor certified by the EPA to safely deal with lead paint, we thought it would be a good idea to address several of those questions all at one time.
Is Lead Paint Dangerous?
Simply having lead paint on your walls is not dangerous in itself. As long as the paint remains intact on the walls, it does not cause harm to people or animals who live there. The danger is caused when the paint comes off the walls, which happens in three main ways:
- Paint failure, such as peeling, flaking and cracking
- Physical disturbance, such as sanding or demolition (often during renovations)
- Normal surface wear as walls are touched, bumped, and brushed against
Once the lead paint is detached from the walls, it can pose a danger, since it now has the potential to be ingested. This can cause serious health hazards.
Is Lead Paint Bad for Children?
If lead is present in the home, children are more likely to be exposed to it. This is because they more frequently put their hands in their mouths, as well as toys and other objects. When dust, flakes, or residue from lead paint are present, this hand-to-mouth action causes the lead to be ingested, where it can enter the bloodstream.
Children also have higher risk of health trouble from lead paint, including anemia, lead poisoning, and the impairment of brain development leading to cognitive disabilities and behavioral issues.
Is Lead Paint Dangerous for Adults?
According to experts, there is no safe level of lead ingestion for anyone, though adults are less likely than children to be affected by lead paint. That said, lead exposure for pregnant women is a serious risk because it can negatively affect the development of the baby.
Is Lead Paint Still Used? Or Is Lead Paint Illegal?
Lead paint can still be found in some industrial applications and on some painted items that are imported from other countries with different laws. Nevertheless, lead paint is illegal for use in interior residential applications in the United States.
If your home was built before 1978, there is a very high probability it contains lead paint. There are a variety of ways to test for this if you want to be sure.
What Can You Do about Lead Paint?
For homeowners, the best thing to do is hire a professional painting company that is lead-safe certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These painters can help you evaluate the state of your paint, and advise you on the best way to remediate it.
The easiest way to protect your family is to apply new interior paint over the old paint. This encapsulates the lead behind a physical barrier, preventing it from coming off the walls as dust or flakes. However, it is important to remember that the preparation process before you paint can tend to release lead dust, so it is best to leave that to a professional who can do it safely.
Methods also exist for the physical removal of lead paint from the home. These are more difficult and costly, but the end result is that the lead hazard is completely removed from the house.
Williams Professional Painting
Do you live in northern Virginia, the Washington, D.C. area, or in Maryland? If so, Williams Professional Painting is ready to help your family stay safe from lead-based paint. As a lead-safe certified painting contractor, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to work safely in homes with lead paint.
In addition to interior painting services, we also offer carpentry, exterior painting, kitchen cabinet painting, popcorn ceiling removal, and more. Contact our office for a free house painting estimate, or use our online estimate request form (below).