Find out what safety measures you need to take if you have lead paint in your home.
Home improvement questions, answered by professionals from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), an association of remodeling professionals committed to providing consumers with high standards of quality, honesty, integrity, and responsibility.
How do you determine if there is lead paint in a home and what can you do to remove it?
Far too many homeowners and contractors pay way too little attention to the danger of lead paint contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that lead paint in old homes is the chief cause of lead poisoning in the United States. My opinion is that much of the lead contamination comes from homeowners and contractors disturbing surfaces painted with lead paint without taking due safety measures while working on old homes.
If your home is in good condition, without deteriorating paint, there is no danger to you as long as the painted surfaces are not disturbed in such a way as to create paint chips or dust. The EPA¿s main concern is with paint disruption during painting preparation or remodeling. Removing lead paint from a home would require a lead abatement contractor to remove the offending surfaces and replace them with new. This is almost never done due to cost and lack of danger once the lead paint has been painted over.
Homeowners can test their homes for lead paint in several ways. Paint stores sell test swabs that can be used to test for lead. The EPA does recognize them as effective, but there is danger of improper use or faulty methods of sampling that could lead to false results in the hands of a do-it-yourself homeowner.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) has been a strong promoter of having all remodeling contractors become trained and certified by the EPA in lead-safe work practices. All certified contractors can be located on the EPA’s website (http://cfpub.epa.gov/flpp/searchrrp_training.htm).
If you are going to have any work done on your home that will disturb the paint, or if you have areas with deteriorated paint, I would suggest you contact a NARI contractor in your area that is on the EPA list.
If you are determined to do your own work there are certified testing companies in your area that can test samples for you for a modest fee. A reputable lab will instruct you on how to gather samples. It is important to test multiple areas. There are also EPA-certified specialists who will come to your home and test it with an X-ray device that will detect if any of the painted surfaces have any lead paint. This service is more costly, but it is the best testing method available.
If you are going to work on your home yourself, the EPA has booklets that can be ordered or downloaded online with lead-safe work practice instructions.
Source: Better Homes & Gardens