Most people have heard of the warnings of lead paint in a home, but in what type of home is this a concern? And, if I have lead paint in my home, what do I do about it? These are precisely the two focus points for this article, how to deal with lead paint removal in Columbia SC. Genuine Property Solutions is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Abatement Company and will made sure your home is lead free.
Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978, though some states stopped its use prior to this date.
Lead can be found in these locations:
- In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
- In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
- Inside and outside of the house.
- In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)
Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition, and it is not on an impact or friction surface, like a window. It is defined by the federal government as paint with lead levels greater than or equal to 1.0 milligram per square centimeter, or more than 0.5% by weight.
Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking or damaged) is a hazard and needs immediate attention. It may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:
- Windows and window sills.
- Doors and door frames.
- Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it.
Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. The only way to find out if paint, dust and soil lead hazards exist is to test for them. Read more about lead evaluations from the EPA website.
Checking Your Home for Lead
Genuine Property Solutions can test your home tested for lead to make sure it is a safe living environment for your family. Home test kits for lead are available, but we advise against them for they may not always be accurate. Consumers should not rely on these kits before doing renovations or to assure safety.
If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family’s risk:
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up paint chips immediately.
- Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Wash children’s hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time.
- Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
- Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.
Checking Your Family for Lead
To reduce your child’s exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested, especially if your home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978, and fix any hazards you may have.
Children’s blood lead levels tend to increase rapidly from 6 to 12 months of age, and tend to peak at 18 to 24 months of age. Consult your doctor for advice on testing your children. A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood tests are usually recommended for:
- Children at ages 1 and 2.
- Children or other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead.
- Children who should be tested under your state or local health screening plan. Your doctor can explain what the test results mean and if more testing will be needed.
Reducing Lead Hazards In The Home
In addition to day-to-day cleaning you can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as repairing damaged painted surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions are not permanent solutions though, and will need ongoing attention.
To permanently remove lead hazards, you need hire a certified lead abatement contractor like Genuine Property Solutions. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not permanent removal. We follow strict safety rules with all that we do.
Remodeling or Renovating a Home With Lead-Based Paint
- Have the area tested for lead-based paint.
- Do not use a belt-sander, propane torch, high temperature heat gun, dry scraper, or dry sandpaper to remove lead-based paint. These actions create large amounts of lead dust and fumes. Lead dust can remain in your home long after the work is done.
- Temporarily move your family (especially children and pregnant women) out of the apartment or house until the work is done and the area is properly cleaned. If you can’t move your family, at least completely seal off the work area.
Other Sources of Lead
Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
- Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
- Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
- Bringing it home from work. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family’s clothes.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
Do not hesitate to contact Genuine Property Solutions with any questions on this topic. It is always better to be overly safe when it comes to lead paint removal in your Columbia home!