This is Day 25 of the Green in 365 series!
If you live in an older home like we do, there could be a toxic chemical lurking in a place that is easily accessible to your children; your window sills, frames and tracks.
If your house was built before 1978 it is highly likely that lead paint was used somewhere in your home. Lead paint that is in good condition and not peeling, chipping or cracking is usually not hazardous.
Windows, though, are especially prone to cracking and chipping paint because of opening and closing them, and the exposure to outdoor air, which leads to lead paint chips exposed and lead dust being released into the air in your home. And many window sills are right at a child’s height for playing or looking out the window, and being exposed to the lead based paint.
Photo by Jason Bolonski
Lead is especially dangerous for children, whose brains and bodies are still developing, and can lead to severe issues like brain damage as well as slower growth and anemia, and for pregnant woman whose exposure can effect her developing baby. (source)
I have to admit that this is one issue that scares and overwhelms me, and that we have yet to take action on in our home. We do have old windows with paint that is chipping, but I’ve always assumed that the paint is not lead based because I can see several layers of paint on the windows underneath the paint that is chipping. And when my son was tested for lead at one year old, his levels came back within the normal range. But, we shouldn’t just assume, for the health and safety of our family, we need to take some action.
If you are concerned that your home contains lead paint, you can start with purchasing a at home lead testing kit, there are several brands that are less than $20, to test for lead around your home, but be aware that these kits are not 100% accurate, and cannot test for lead below the surface. If you suspect that you have lead paint in your home, and/or your at home test comes back positive for lead, the best thing to do is hire a certified lead testing and removal service.
It’s also very important to think about lead paint before doing any remodeling or renovating your home, so be sure to hire EPA Lead-Safe certified contractors who can reduce the risk of lead exposure with safe working practices and thorough clean up.
Keeping your home well-maintained and dealing with any peeling or cracking paint is the best way to minimize your family’s exposure to lead paint in your home. For more information please visit the EPA’s lead poisoning site.
I know what we’ll be doing this weekend; getting a home test kit to get started testing our home for lead!
Please share your experience with us! Have you tested your home for lead paint before? How have you dealt with deteriorating lead paint in your home?
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