Lead paint can be found in many areas of the home, especially if it was built years ago.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
- 24 percent of homes built between 1960 and 1977 have lead-based paint
- 69 percent of homes built between 1940 and 1959 have lead-based paint
- 87 percent of homes built before 1940 have lead-based paint.
Where can that lead be located? Oftentimes, lead paint can be found under layers of new coats of paint. This is perfectly safe unless it begins to chip. If it chips, peels or becomes damp, it is a health hazard to you and your family.
Lead paint can also be found on areas easily accessible to your children. Areas such as window sills, doors and stair railings can contain toxic levels of paint that your family touches throughout the day.
It may also be present in the pipes that carry water into your home. Prior to 1986 lead was still used in the formation and lining of these pipes. If lead enters your water stream it can become a toxic problem. Lead cannot be tasted, seen or smelled in drinking water.
A home inspection can include a paint inspection as well as a complete risk assessment. A paint inspection alerts you to the lead content of every painted surface in your home. A risk assessment can alert you to lead exposure your family could be experiencing right now.
Maintain home condition by:
- Checking your home for chipping, peeling or other paint deterioration
- Check areas that see a lot of traffic such as stairs, doorways and windows
- Regularly check for paint chips and dust
- Wipe down flat surfaces at least once a week.
If your home was built before 1978, your safest bet is to have it tested for lead exposure levels.