Generally, the older the home, the more likely lead-based paint is present. The federal government banned lead-based paint in housing in 1978. Lead can be present in the soil around the home where it can be tracked inside. Lead can also be found in household dust from deterioration of lead-based paint and remodeling or renovation projects.
The most common way that lead enters the body, especially in children, is by placing hands or other objects contaminated with lead dust in the mouth. Another method is by breathing in lead dust, especially during renovations. Finally eating paint chips or soil that contains lead.
Increased lead levels in people can cause a variety of problems including nervous system and kidney damage, learning disabilities, speech and behavior problems, decreased muscle and bone growth, and hearing damage. Also digestive and reproductive problems may result. This is even more dangerous to children under the age of 6 because of developing bodies and also pregnant women due to exposure to the fetus.
- Notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up paint chips immediately
- Clean floors, window frames and sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with water and a general all-purpose cleaner.
- Wash children’s hands often, especially before they eat and sleep.
- Keep play areas clean.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Avoid tracking dust and soil from outside into the home.
- Make sure children eat healthy and nutritious meals. Good diets result in less lead absorbed.
Learn more about lead poisoning with these helpful resources.