Photograph of old paint on a historic building, paint is likely to be a source of lead contamination on the soils below. How To Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
     


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This document describes the immediate steps that can be taken to protect people from lead poisoning in the home. This article series provides advice for reducing the risk of lead poisoning for families living in homes where lead exposure is suspected, likely, or where lead contamination is actually confirmed by testing.

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What Can You Do Now to Protect Your Family From Lead Poisoning?

Readers of this article should see our review of a Home Test Kit for Lead in on building surfaces located at LEAD TEST KIT for HOME USE. The same company offers a lead-in-water test, as do local health departments and private water testing labs in most cities. Also see Lead Contamination in Drinking Water: Testing & Correction - Advice.

The original U.S. CPSC document is public domain. We have made additions to the technical depth of this article and we have added additional important detail about lead hazards - these are indicated by a [bracketed note in italics]. The additional text or commentary, website design, links, and references are

If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:

  • If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
  • Clean up paint chips immediately.
  • Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.

    Watch out
    : REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS.
  • Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
  • Wash children's hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time.
  • Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly.
  • Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
  • Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and low-fat dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead.

How Can You Significantly Reduce Indoor Lead Poisoning Hazards

Removing lead improperly can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house.

Always use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards safely.

In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition:

  • You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions like repairing damaged painted surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels.

    These actions (called "interim controls") are not permanent solutions and will not eliminate all risks of exposure.
  • To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a lead "abatement" contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials.

    Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not enough.

Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems--someone who knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. If possible, hire a certified lead abatement contractor. Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules as set by their state or by the federal government.

Call your state agency (see below) for help with locating qualified contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.

 

Continue reading at LEAD PAINT USES in BUILDINGS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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LEAD in the HOME, WHAT TO DO at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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