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Just So You Know: Lead Paint

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What happens when the stars of hit HGTV show get caught breaking EPA rules and guidelines about lead paint? Unluckily for them, they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and spend a good chunk of money—$160,000 to be exact—remediating the lead paint they should have dealt with in the first place. But luckily for us, their settlement with the EPA included a directive to educate the public about lead paint. So here we are doing our part to educate you, the consumer, about the dangers of lead paint.

Lead in the Home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), there is no safe level of lead in the human body. However, any child with more than five micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood is considered to suffer from lead exposure. Lead can come from a wide variety of sources, but one of the most common is still lead paint. Along with lead pipes and soldering in municipal and home plumbing, lead paint is one of the leading causes of lead poisoning in children and adults.

The use of lead-containing paint in any consumer setting, including for homes, was banned by the EPA in 1978. Some states banned lead-containing paint even earlier. However, Georgia never placed a state-level ban on the paint, so houses continued to be painted with lead paint right up until the federal ban. If your Georgia home was built before 1978, there is a very good chance it contains lead paint. Most houses have been repainted multiple times since then. After all, that’s over 40 years of updates and renovations. However, even lead that is hidden under several layers of paint can reappear in your home.

How Lead Paint Affects Your Home

Lead paint that is trapped under layers of newer non-lead paint is not a danger. But there are many ways in which the underlying lead paint can be uncovered and is still a risk. The most common problem comes from chipping paint. If the many layers of paint in your home begin to chip off, it may expose the lead paint several layers beneath the surface. This is especially true of areas that get a lot of use, like stairs, railings, banisters, porches, doors, door frames, windows, and window sills. Lead paint and lead paint dust can also be released during repainting or during renovations that break down walls or other surfaces covered in lead paint.

Protecting Against Lead Contamination

If you live in a home built before 1978, you should assume there is lead paint unless the home has been tested and found to be free of lead paint. Homeowners and landlords are encouraged to repair chipping, damp, or damaged paint. Residents should keep homes clean and free of dust, which can include lead dust. Any new painting or construction should be done by professionals trained and certified in lead remediation.

If you plan on painting your home built before 1978, talk with one of these TrustDALE certified painters first. They can help guide you to make sure there is no danger of lead contamination in your home.