What Are Lead-Based Paint Hazards – Part 2

Lead can be found both on the inside and outside of a home, though some of the most common sources include:

  • House Paints: houses built before 1939 had lead-based paint applied to the interior or exterior surfaces, and some home paints produced up to 1977 contained small amounts of lead. Some of these paints still remain inside older homes and may particularly hazardous if in poor condition (chipped or peeling) or if disturbed by sanding or abrasion (creating lead dust).
  • Lead in the Soil: While lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts everywhere, the soil near heavily used streets and roads may contain lead as a result of past use of lead in gasoline. Lead may also be present in the soil adjacent to the houses to houses with lead-based paint. lead buildup in the soil may contribute to the high levels of lead in household dust.
  • Drinking Water: Some water pipes in older homes were made of lead. In both old and new homes, lead solder was used in copper piping. Both can be a source of lead in drinking water.

Also at risk are homes located next to heavily traveled roads or highways that have lead-exterior paint or that are adjacent to bridges or steel structures which have been renovated and may have lead contamination in surrounding soils, says the EPA. These homes require additional testing for lead.

If the home you are buying falls into these risk categories, you will want to have lead testing done prior to closing. Testing methods range from small home test kits to actual laboratory analysis of paint samples. Ask your local health department for more information about having your home’s paint, as well as household dust and soil from the yard ad even the home’s drinking water tested for lead. Correcting the problem of lead soil contamination is also a job for professional who specialize in these intricate projects.