It may seem that the hazard of lead paint is only possible for cheap goods imported overseas, or for people living in a rundown housing. It is not a case as it is widely known in real estate that as recently as 1977 lead paint was used in homes across the US.
In order to protect Americans from lead poisoning in the paint, dust and soil in their homes, Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, also known as Title X. If your home was built before 1978, you are required to disclose if you know of any lead-based paint hazards on your property. You must also provide a 10-day period, if not waived by the homebuyer, to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint hazards.
The home sale contract between you and your buyer will include an attachment regarding the lead-based paint hazards if any exist, and the buyers will be provided with the appropriate EPA-approved information pamphlets on lead-based paint hazards.
The effects of lead exposure, knowing how to know if your house is in danger of lead paint and what happens with a Lead based paint Inspection from Web MD is discussed below:
What Are the Health Effects of Lead Exposure?
In children, high levels of lead can cause:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Kidney damage
- Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Poor muscle coordination
- Hearing problems
- Bone marrow problems
Even children who appear to be healthy may experience some of these health problems because of lead poisoning.
In adults, lead exposure can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Fertility problems in both men and women
- Nerve disorders
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
How Can I Tell If I Have Lead Paint in My House?
Not all houses built before 1978 have lead-based paint, but the older your house is, the greater the likelihood is that it contains lead paint somewhere inside or out.
Yet, even if it does, if the paint is in good condition — there’s no chipping or peeling and no sign that the surface has been broken — the paint is not a health hazard. But if you’re planning a renovation, you’ll want to know if your paint contains lead so you can take precautions to avoid exposure.
You’ll also want to determine if there is lead-based paint in your house if you intend to sell or rent it. As the seller or landlord, you have a legal obligation to provide potential buyers or renters any information you have about the lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in your home.
The only way you’ll be able to know whether there is lead paint in your home is with an inspection.
What’s Involved in an Inspection for Lead Paint?
There are three testing methods used to determine whether lead paint is present in your home. Which one you have done depends on your reason for testing.
1. Lead-based paint inspection
An inspection identifies whether there is lead-based paint on any surface inside or outside your home. It’s particularly useful if you’re planning a renovation, are going to paint, or are having paint removed.
An inspector will inventory all painted surfaces, including those covered by wall paper, both inside and outside the house. Samples are then tested, either on site with a portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF), or collected and sent to a laboratory recognized by the EPA’s National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program. The XRF measures lead in the paint without damaging it, and provides a fast method for classifying painted surfaces as either positive (lead) or negative (no lead). But if the results aren’t conclusive, samples of one- to four-square inches of paint are removed and sent for lab analysis.
The report that follows the inspection will identify which surfaces have lead-based paint. The report does not indicate the condition of the paint or whether it poses a health risk.
2. Risk assessment
A risk assessment locates deteriorating paint in your home and evaluates the extent and cause of the deterioration. Then the deteriorated paint is tested, as well as paint on surfaces where it looks like a child has been biting, mouthing, or licking. Painted surfaces in good condition are not tested. A risk assessment also tests household dust as well as soil in outside play areas and around the foundation. Dust samples are usually collected from floors and windows by using a wet wipe, then sent with the paint samples for lab analysis.
A risk assessment report will tell you where lead hazards exist in your house and indicate ways to correct them. Because not all surfaces are tested, a negative report doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no lead-based paint in the house. Some homeowners choose to have a paint inspection and a risk assessment.
3. Hazard screen
A hazard screen is similar to a risk assessment, but not as extensive. It’s usually done for homes with a lower risk of lead hazard. An assessor inspects areas of deterioration and collects two samples of dust, one from floors and one from windows. Soil samples are usually not collected unless there’s evidence of paint chips in the soil. A hazard screen identifies the probability of there being a risk present. If there is a probability, the report will recommend a risk assessment.