Lead and your Health

Lead is an element that has been used as an additive in many common items. Lead has been used in gasoline, pottery, ceramic tile, paint, plumbing and many other materials. Although the dangers of lead have been recognized for many years, only now are the health effects being fully realized.

Although lead poisoning is harmful to people of all ages, the greatest risk for lead poisoning are young children and women of child bearing age. Children exposed to lead may develop the same symptoms of hyperactivity that are associated with ADHD along with other central nervous system problems.

Especially in children, lead, when ingested, can take the place of calcium in the skeletal system. Here it is only released slowly back into the bloodstream to be eliminated by the kidneys. Lead has been found to damage almost every major organ in the body. Just a small amount of lead can be enough to poison a child.

Lead poisoning of a child is most commonly caused by deteriorating paint, usually found in homes build before 1978. If you are considering buying a home built in that time frame, be advised that testing the home for lead based paint may be the simplest way to protect your child from lead poisoning.

What is a Lead Based Paint Inspection?

A Lead Based Paint Inspection is a surface by surface inspection of all the painted surfaces in a home to test for the presence of lead based paint. The inspector will visually inspect the home and use a special instrument to test each surface for lead. Results are almost immediate with a written report following within a few days. The protocols which are used were developed by HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) and use a portable X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer that takes sample measurements quickly and in a way that is non-destructive.

What is a Lead Based Paint Risk Assessment?

A Lead Based Paint Risk Assessment is an inspection to determine if a lead based paint hazard exists, and, if so, give solutions for reducing, eliminating or managing those risks. A Risk Assessment is done in several steps. First the inspector will interview the owners and occupants of the property to find the use patterns in the home and the ages of the occupants. Next a visual inspection of the property will be done to find any areas where paint has been damaged or is deteriorating as well as impact points or friction areas where paint may be wearing. Those surfaces that have been identified as potential hazards are then tested to determine if they are lead containing. This information is then evaluated and a plan developed to reduce or remove these hazards. At Bonneville Environmental, we understand the need for safe, effective and cost effective solutions for dealing with environmental hazards, so each Risk Assessment gives clear, common sense answers to reduce your family’s exposure to lead until abatement can occur.

What is Lead Clearance Testing?

Lead Clearance Testing is the testing that is performed after renovation work, repairs or after lead based paint has been abated. This testing is done by a third party (not the company doing the renovation) to avoid a conflict of interest and to make sure the final cleanup was done properly. As demolition and construction work is done, usually a lot of dust is generated. If the materials being removed contain lead, this lead dust is deposited on all surfaces around the remodeling area. Even a small amount of lead in this dust is enough to poison a child. After the construction is done, it is highly recommended that a Lead Based Paint Inspector do the testing to assure that there is no danger of lead poisoning by testing the surfaces around the construction area to make sure this dust has been properly removed. This testing also protects the contractor from liability, showing that no lead dust is present from the renovation project and is the final step before re-occupying the home.