When & Where Was Lead-Based Paint Used?

Lead paint can be dangerous. Learn when it was used and if it might be in your home.

While some minor levels of lead can be found all around us in products and even the air, lead exposure still presents serious health hazards. In 1978, the federal government addressed lead’s harmful impacts and banned consumer use of lead-based paint. But, in older homes, lead paint and lead-contaminated dust still pose health threats.

Many of AmeriSpec’s inspectors provide thorough lead-based paint testing and inspection services. Your local lead-based paint inspector can assess the risk of lead contaminants in or around your home and may help define an appropriate response. Many AmeriSpec professionals are also experienced inspecting and identifying the presence of lead-based paint in commercial buildings. If you’re considering buying an older property or live in an older home, an AmeriSpec lead paint test and inspection can be a vital health, safety and legal measure.

Older Homes & Lead Paint

When we buy or build homes, we expect them to last. In fact, the life expectancy of a normal home can frequently cross the hundred-year threshold. Homes are often so soundly constructed that some studies estimate approximately half of currently occupied U.S. homes were built before 1980. Though longevity usually serves us well, this likely means that a sizable portion of homes contain lead-based paint. Walls in good condition rarely are immediate hazards, but flaking or deteriorating walls do create risk. And, if you plan on embarking on a home renovation project, scraping and sanding can produce harmful lead dust.

Homes in a specific geographic area are not more likely to have lead-based paint than any other. Density of housing may increase lead-paint exposure in urban areas, but the main factor tied to lead paint presence is when your property was constructed.

If you’re selling your home, you are legally obligated to disclose to the buyer any known information concerning the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in the building. Buying a home is a monumental life event. Take a step to give buyers complete peace of mind with AmeriSpec’s pre-listing inspection services. For families preparing for a big move, read our moving checklist to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

Lead Paint Placement & Dangers

It’s important to be aware that any level of lead exposure by children is serious. If you suspect your child might have experienced lead exposure, you should immediately seek medical attention and have your child’s blood levels tested.

Remember, adults and children alike can get lead into their systems by breathing in lead dust. This is especially common during renovation or repair projects that might disturb dried lead-based paint. Make sure to always hire a lead-safe certified renovation contractor for projects in homes containing lead paint.

Because of their age and developmental stage, children are at more risk than adults. Their growing bodies, brains and nervous systems are particularly sensitive to lead’s negative impacts. Children are vulnerable to serious adverse effects including learning disabilities and behavioral issues. Women who are pregnant should also be particularly careful. Lead exposure can cause harm to a developing fetus. For more information concerning the dangers of lead paint and products, visit the EPA’s lead information hub.

Lead Paint Dust

Lead-based paint in older homes is most unsafe if it peels, chips or cracks. This can happen frequently in high-use areas where paint is applied near windows, doors stairs or rails. As time passes, paint erodes. This creates harmful, lead-contaminated dust. Young children might touch lead dust-covered objects or place them in their mouths, resulting in significant health damage.

During the lead-based paint testing process, your local inspector will pay close attention to areas that may produce lead-contaminated dust. Many inspectors are trained using the most up-to-date equipment. You might see them using a portable x-ray fluorescence machine to detect any signs of lead. Based on your property’s unique needs, our industry-leading inspectors may also collect samples for lab analysis in order to procure accurate and definitive lead paint test results.

Lead in Products, the Soil and Water

Small levels of lead in soil are normal. Yet, soil in yards around your home, in nearby playgrounds or in public parks can be contaminated when lead-based paint chips or flakes off the exterior of homes, eventually spreading and reaching the soil. It’s possible for children playing in yards to inhale particles from lead-contaminated soil or ingest lead from playing with soil with their hands. AmeriSpec inspectors are diligent when investigating and testing both the interior and exterior of your home for the possible presence of lead. We’ll make sure to deliver a clear, concise inspection report so you’re certain of what to do next.

Lead-based pipes are common in homes built before 1950. Even new homes with lead-free plumbing are legally allowed to contain up to 8 percent lead materials. When lead plumbing materials corrode or dissolve, lead can disperse into your drinking water, presenting serious health risks. If you live in a rural area, AmeriSpec offers qualified well water quality testing services. During this test, our skilled inspectors will measure any impurities and sample for water quality.

Surprisingly, lead paint was even used to make toys and other children’s products. The doll your grandmother handed down to your daughter could, in fact, be coated in lead-based paint or contain lead. Remain vigilant when it concerns your children and lead-based products or toys.

Steps to a Lead-Safe Home

Testing your home, especially if it was constructed before 1978, is the only definitive way to learn about and address potential hazards. Our lead certified inspectors will conduct lead tests thoroughly and without disturbing your property. We honor and respect the investment you’ve made in your property, and we conduct ourselves accordingly—with exhaustive professionalism and attention to detail.

Maintaining your home’s condition is a protective measure worth taking. Regularly check for paint chips or dust and keep an eye out for any signs of damage near windows, doors and stairways. Wiping down window sills and other flat surfaces with a damp, disposable towel can help remove the existence of possible lead remnants. Most of all, however, schedule testing by a local AmericSpec lead inspector who can professionally identify risk areas and provide direction for how to handle any lead presence.

Just one step in preserving your property, AmeriSpec is committed to safety and health. Our range of inspection services also includes radon inspections, water bacteria analysis, mold inspections and carbon monoxide testing. With AmeriSpec, your property comes first.