Renovations for Health
Air Quality: Lead
Inspection and Removal
Retrofits for a Healthy Home and Business
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The questions with any inspection for a potential remodel are:
Lora Cain for USA Today writes, "The world has found new
reasons to fear lead exposure in children with the recall of Chinese-made
toys decorated with lead paint. Pediatricians say that lead paint on toys
is indeed a risk but that the greater risk continues to come from lead
paint in older homes."
Lead is a neurotoxin that can harm nerve tissue. Although it can affect anyone of any age, it has the most effect in children and small animals. When they eat or inhale even a tiny amount of lead, it can create serious neurological problems. Children are constantly "tasting" items or touching them, then putting their hands in thsir mouths. They play on the floor in the dust and even walk closer to the floor and, thus, to the dust.
Lead can also be a problem in your yard. If someone has scraped off exterior paint, including any layer applied before 1978, lead dust may have fallen into your yard and can affect anyone who gardens or plays in the yard. It can also contaminant your vegetable garden.
If you disturb any lead-contaminating material, even on the outside of the home, it could contaminate the entire house and the yard. It is important to remove lead under containment during demolition.
The EPA recommends that anyone renovating a home built before 1978 test
their home for potential lead hazards. It warns against using belt
sanders, propane torches, high-temperature heat guns, dry scrapers or dry
sandpaper because they could create lead dust and fumes. Work areas should
be sealed off completely. Once the renovation is complete, a clearance
examination performed by a contractor is necessary to check for harmful
levels of lead-contaminated dust.
In something so dangerous, it is best to have the pre-1978 home tested rather than rely on the seller's or landlord's known information.
The woodwork and anything that was painted with a shiny paint has the greatest potential of having lead--even if it is buried under layers of other paint. Other places are windows, doors and cabinets--anywhere--any place where friction may rub off old lead paint.
Second if the paint has been disturbed, is bubbling, or is likely to be disturbed during remodeling, contact a lead inspector who will write a remediation plan, then refer you to professionals to remove the lead-containing material under containment. After the work is completed, the lead inspector should perform testing again to ensure that the work was done property.
The EPA warns against using belt sanders, propane torches, high-temperature heat guns, dry scrapers or dry sandpaper when dealing with lead paint because they could create lead dust and fumes. Work areas should be sealed off completely. Once the renovation is complete, a clearance examination performed by a contractor is necessary to check for harmful levels of lead-contaminated dust.
The EPA has established this hotline for dealing with lead: If you suspect that lead-based paint has been used in your home or if you plan to remodel or renovate, get your home tested. Do not attempt to remove lead paint yourself. Call 1-(800)-424-LEAD for guidelines.
At this time, there are strict laws regarding remodeling a building, even repainting, if lead is present and high fines for doing so improperly.. Consult a professional or face health consequences and high fines.
Although you might be given a range of $450-$600 for lead testing, you might be able to get it done for $375 if you include a single asbestos testing (ceiling popcorn, for example) at the same time for $200-$250.
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in North Central Texas
or the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
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