What is lead poisoning? How do children become lead poisoned?
Lead poisoning is a disease and is most dangerous for children under six years old. An excess of lead in the body can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system in young children. At low levels, lead can reduce normal growth and cause learning and behavioral difficulties.
Children often become lead poisoned by swallowing microscopic amounts of lead paint dust. Often, a child’s normal behavior of putting their hands and toys in their mouths can cause poisoning if these things have touched lead dust or contain lead paint. If children play in leaded soil, drink contaminated water, eat vegetables or fruit grown in contaminated soil, or if leaded soil is tracked into the home, elevated levels of lead may occur in the child’s body.
Are children under six years old the only ones at risk of lead poisoning?
No. Young children can be more easily and seriously poisoned than older children or adults, but lead exposure poses a health risk for everyone. Most lead poisoning in adults is caused by work-related exposure or renovation of an older home (pre-1978). Stained glass, bullets and fishing sinkers, also often contain lead. In adults, lead exposure can cause high blood pressure, reproductive difficulties, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory loss, and muscle and joint pain. Adults who have any of these symptoms and who have been exposed to lead should consider being screened for lead. Additionally, a pregnant woman can expose her baby to lead before birth if she becomes poisoned.
What are the dangers of lead paint in homes, and when was it used?
Household paint with poisonous levels of lead was in use in the U.S. from the 1960s until it was banned by the federal government in 1978. Some municipalities, like New York City, outlawed the use of lead paint earlier, in 1960. Lead can be found in all types of pre-1978 homes: urban, suburban, and rural; private, public, state or federal housing; single-family and multi-family homes. The older the house, the more likely it is to contain lead paint.
Lead paint found in a child’s residence is often the source of childhood lead poisoning. Even a microscopic amount of fine lead dust is enough to poison a child. When lead paint is found on moving surfaces, such as windows and doors, lead dust can be released through normal use. This dust settles, where it can be easily picked up on children’s toys and fingers. Even if lead paint has been covered by layers of nonleaded paint this danger still exists, especially when the paint is disturbed.
How do I know if my house has lead-based paint?
Older homes, child care facilities, and schools are more likely to contain lead-based paint. If you or your child lives in this type of residence of frequent these types or older buildings, you can assume there may be lead paint exposure. 87% of homes built before 1940 have some lead-based paint, while 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead-based paint. Hire LEW Corporation to check for lead-based paint. Our certified inspectors and risk assessors can conduct an inspection to determine whether your home or a portion of your home has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices should be used for renovation, repair, or painting jobs. Our certified risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling you whether your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. We can also tell you what actions to take to address any hazards.
What does the EPA’s RRP Rule require?
The RRP Rule requires that renovators are trained in the use of lead safe work practices, that renovators and firms be certified, that providers of renovation training be accredited, and that renovators follow specific work practice standards.
Who is covered by the RRP Rule?
The rule applies to all firms and individuals who are paid to perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb paint in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities. This includes home improvement contractors, maintenance workers, painters and other specialty trades.
Where can I get certified for RRP?
LEW Corporation has trained tens of thousands of contractors since the inception of the RRP Rule. Sign up for a class now on our training page.