Lead Paint — National Lead Prevention Week 2018
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Lead has been used throughout human history as an additive for a wide variety of housing products. When lead is added to paint it increases durability and enhances color. In plastics and vinyl, it helps increase rigidity and sturdiness. Lead has also been used as a fire retardant. Although lead has many excellent qualities, it also has one very negative quality: it is TOXIC to humans and animals Lead poisoning is a health risk for people of all ages.
Physical symptoms associated with lead poisoning in children include headaches, stomachaches, and sleep problems. Children may also experience hearing difficulties. These symptoms, if experienced at all, may be mild and easily dismissed as any number of other minor childhood maladies. The biggest danger associated with lead poisoning in children is neurological in nature. Children can suffer brain damage if exposed to lead in early childhood. In adults: In adults, it generally manifests itself as anemia or high blood pressure (often experienced by middle-aged to older adults, anyway, thereby exacerbating their condition and, perhaps, going unnoticed and undiagnosed). Fertility and reproductive problems may be experienced by both men and women, and kidney damage is often a problem. Some cognitive impairment, such as memory loss, is also possible. Exposure to lead can come from a variety of sources, but lead paint is one way many individuals come into contact with lead. While lead was banned as a house paint additive by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1978, homes built prior to 1978 may contain lead paint.
- Pre-1940 homes: 87% contain lead paint
- 1940-1959 homes: 69% contain lead paint
- 1960-1978 homes: 24% contain lead paint
The only way to determine if your home contains lead-based paint is to test it. During National Lead Prevention Week is October 21-27, 2018, talk to your state or local health department about testing paint and dust in your home for lead.
More information about lead testing and lead paint risks.