Air Quality Lead Remodeling

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Air Quality: LeadInspection and RemovalRetrofits for a Healthy Home and Business

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The questions with any inspection for a potential remodel are:

  • Is the object present in this home?
  • When is it dangerous?
  • Is it dangerous in this home?
  • How much does it cost to safely mitigate the problem?

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." If the home was built before 1978, when lead was banned from building materials,it possibly has lead in the paint or ceramic tile.

Lead is a neurotoxin that can harm nerve tissue. Although it can affectanyone 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 cancreate 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 andeven walk closer to the floor and, thus, to the dust.

Lead can also be a problem in your yard. If someone has scraped off exteriorpaint, including any layer applied before 1978, lead dust may have fallen intoyour yard and can affect anyone who gardens or plays in the yard. It can also contaminant your vegetable garden.

Ifyou disturb any lead-contaminating material, even on the outside of the home, it could contaminate theentire 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. Start with determining the age of the house. Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying a pre-1978 housing:

Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program from the feds:

  • LANDLORDS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint.
  • SELLERS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to ten days to check for lead hazards.

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 waspainted with a shiny paint has the greatest potential of having lead–even if itis buried under layers of other paint. Other places are windows, doors andcabinets–anywhere–any place where friction may rub off old lead paint.

Second if the paint has been disturbed, is bubbling, or is likely to bedisturbed during remodeling, contact a lead inspector who will write a remediationplan, then refer you to professionals to remove the lead-containing materialunder containment. After the work is completed, the lead inspector shouldperform 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 mightbe 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.

Do you need an energy consultant, energy auditor, green builder, or green remodeler in North Central Texas or the Dallas-Fort Worth area?Are you purchasing or building a home?Ready to add renewable-energy?Interested in living more sustainably?Contact Terry JensenFrugal Energy, LLC 972 251-1532 or 817 443-2553 Just have a question or two?Please call. If I can answer withoutseeing your home or business, I will do so at no charge.

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Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.

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