Lead: what is it?
Lead is a mined mineral. Like asbestos its use goes back thousands of years thousands of years throughout human history. The Romans use it in cosmetic, wine making, even water pipes. In modern times, lead was added the numerous materials including gasoline, paint, plumbing pipe, soldered joints, flashing and numerous other construction materials. Also like asbestos in the 20th century it was realized that lead had negative health effects when it was inhaled or entered the body via the skin or even eyes or was ingested. Thus lead was and is still slowly being phased out from every day products.
Unlike asbestos, lead can affect the whole body including the reproductive and nervous systems as well as organs. Lead is especially dangerous to small children as it interferes with the development of the nervous system causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms of lead poisoning can include abdominal pain, headaches, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.
Where can it be found?
In any building older than 40 years it is highly like that lead products, especially paint, will be found. On window frames, doors, walls and other interior or exterior surfaces lead paint will often be in poor condition flaking and peeling off. It is important to contain any lead paint dust resulting from renovations in the home. As with other environmental contaminants people are often unaware they’ve been exposed to dangerous materials and the casual connection to their illness.
What can be done about it:
If you suspect you have lead paint in your home have it tested and or leave it alone. If it is in poor condition and must be removed or you are planning to renovate consult a lead removal contractor who understands “lead safe” work methods and they will be able help you decide on a safe way to precede.