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Dangers of Lead Paint in Your Home

Lead paint is common in most homes built prior to 1978. Many new laws have been passed in recent years with an attempt at reversing the permanent damage that has been caused by lead paint. Lead paint is now a major health crisis, causing such ailments as high blood pressure, neurological impairment, behavior problems, anemia, and seizures. In addition, digestive and reproductive problems can occur. You can become exposed to it through contaminated air, dust, water or food. Many rental households may soon find that landlords will increase rent to offset the cost of abatement and/or stabilization required by these new laws/ordinances.

New Lancaster City, PA Ordinance

A recent ordinance passed by the Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council requires lead-safe certification from landlords renting to families with children 6 years or younger living full time at a property. This certification follows the HUD dust wipe sampling protocol along with a visual assessment of paint conditions throughout a rental unit. The ordinance initially concentrated on young children, but subsequent modifications are expected to require that everyone is included. Many have voiced concern that landlords may try to avoid the cost of testing and lead paint removal by preventing affected families from renting their properties. It is important to note that state or local government can call for lead abatement when it is known to have caused problems with lead poisoning in a child. Once this happens all work must be performed by a state licensed abatement contractor and not by the RRP standard.

Lead Paint on Railing in Lancaster City, PA

Lead Paint Removal

Lead paint removal can be an expensive undertaking – about $10,000 for an average size property. Painting over lead-based paint is a short-term solution and is not always recommended. You need the services of a professional to do the actual removal. Otherwise, you risk stirring up the dust and emitting particles into the air, making the situation even worse. It is just as important to properly dispose of the refuse at a hazardous waste facility.

If your home or rental property was built before 1960, you can be relatively sure that it contains lead-based paint if it has the original paint. You can purchase a test kit from your local outlet and do the test yourself to determine if you need removal. At that point, however, you may want to hire a professional if it needs removal.

The removal process involves misting the surface and dislodging the paint with scrapers, minimizing dust with wet-sponge sanding. Proper clean up afterward is very important to prevent any residue that can be harmful. All surfaces are HEPA vacuumed and then hand wiped until the white rag is clean.

Lead Testing

Lead testing gives you the security of knowing you and your family are living in a safe environment, free from complications that could occur. Safely test for lead and asbestos before starting any renovation project in an older home. A state licensed inspector must perform the necessary testing. An X-ray fluorescence lead-testing device (XRF device) is used to determine if lead paint is present in a layer of painted building components.

If you choose to do it yourself, you can purchase a kit which uses either sodium sulfide or rhodizonate to test for lead. Keep in mind, though, that not all do-it-yourself kits are reliable. You will need to expose all layers of paint in order to get accurate results. Also, remember that lead paint is not only on walls but can be found on other surfaces, such as ceilings, old medicine cabinets, window sills, bath-tub glazing, clear varnished floors, trim and exterior walls.

Lead Abatement Contractors

Specially trained professionals are contracted to determine the presence of and removal of lead paint in a residential or commercial building.

Budgetary issues are usually a major concern when properties need to have lead paint removed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated rules requiring the contractors to become certified and to abide by stringent directives, which make the whole process more difficult to complete, thereby making it more expensive. New rules require the lead abatement contractors to wear filtered respirators and to seal off the work sections so that particles cannot drift into other areas of the property. All dust must be removed from clothing and tools before leaving the polluted zone to avert a large fine.

The EPA allows you to seal the lead paint with special primers if it is in good condition. While you can embark upon lead abatement on your own, you must use the same care that professionals do. Contact the experts at e.h.c. today!

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