We contacted the Student Works house painting company for the following important information regarding the hazards of lead paint.
When you buy a fixer upper house for sale, you have a lot more to worry about than you would if you bought a brand new build. Repairs will need to be made, landscaping done, and extra money set aside for maintenance. But everyone expects to at least be safe living in their home while the renovations are done. This may not be the case if your house contains lead paint. Here's more information on how lead paint can affect you and how you should handle finding it in your home.
Exposure to lead is harmful to humans. Ingesting, inhaling, or even touching lead through lead paint lead to lead poisoning. The symptoms of lead poisoning are not obvious at low levels, but at high levels you will find yourself with headaches, nausea, weakness, weight loss, and difficulty moving around and concentrating on tasks. Exposure is especially dangerous for children, because it can adversely affect their development.
You do not need to worry about lead based paint if you're buying a brand new home, but if you are looking at a house built before 1960, there is a very good chance the paint will contain some lead. Even homes built between 1960 and 1991 can contain some lead. Homes newer than that will not be a problem, however. To find out if the paint in your home is lead based, you can get a contractor to x-ray your walls or send paint chips to be analyzed by a laboratory. You should do this before buying or renovating an older home.
If you do find evidence of lead paint, removing it is not always the safest course of action. Most of the time the lead layer will be covered by several other layers of paint that is not lead based. If the lead layer is not peeling or exposed, you can leave it alone. Alternatively, you can cover it up with paneling or wallpaper for added safety. If you must remove it, hire an expert or use a chemical paint stripper to avoid sending harmful flakes into the air. Remember to protect yourself and your family.
If you suspect that you or someone in your family may be suffering from lead poisoning due to exposure, you can go to the hospital for a simple blood test to confirm. If high level lead poisoning is found, chelation therapy can help to remove lead from your blood.