Lead and Asbestos Testing Coming Soon
Lead dust is all but an invisible danger. When suspended in the air or lying on the floor, lead dust looks just like any other dust particles. However, unlike most common dust particles, it is far from harmless.
The Dangers of Lead Poisoning
The effect of lead poisoning is cumulative and will cause severe damage to a child’s central nervous system. The Center for Disease Control reports that lead poisoning is the single most pervasive, but completely preventable, childhood health problem. Among other health issues, lead poisoning is associated with imparted cognitive functions, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
The fact is no amount of lead is safe and once a child has become exposed to it impairment is often irreversible. Lead poising is dangerous for adults as well. While deteriorating lead paint, manufactured before 1978, is the most frequent cause of lead exposure, lead from other sources can also result in poisoning. Houses constructed prior to lead-based paints being banned in 1978 almost certainly had lead-based paint applied to the home or surrounding structures at some point.
Because of its durability factor, lead-based paint was typically applied around doors, windows, stairs, porches and fences. One of the biggest dangers is lead-based paint was often applied to playground equipment. As the paint ages, cracks and peels, it creates dust that children breathe in. Just opening or closing a door, window or gate can throw lead dust into the air to be breathed in by the unsuspecting.
Lead dust can be tracked inside from outside areas contaminated by lead, such as industrial plants and places that used old-formula leaded gasoline. Once inside, lead dust can easily become suspended in the air while sweeping and vacuuming.
Lead dust can be created when older buildings, with lead paint and pipes, are demolished, sending lead particles through the air for miles. Artificial turf and outdoor surfaces made from shredded tires may also contain lead. Sanding lead-based paint without the proper training and equipment can contaminate the surrounding area. Lead dust can also come from old pipes that contain lead, as well as from stained glass. Additionally, some toys, especially those made overseas, jewelry, and even imported candy may contain lead.
Lead is also a naturally occurring phenomena, and is found in varying concentrations in various areas. Lead dust in the soil can be tracked into the house or become suspended in the air when disturbed, and inhaled. The CDC reports that lead particles as tiny as a grain of sand can be enough to result in lead poisoning. However, the danger is lead dust may not always be visible. This may mean you have no way of knowing, short of having medical diagnostic tests performed, if your child or yourself has been exposed to lead dust.
Reducing the Dangers of Lead Dust Poisoning
To reduce exposure to lead dust after outdoor activity, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends both children and adults leave their shoes outside and wash their hands when going inside.
If you have an older home, plant bushes next to the house to prevent children from playing in high-risk areas. Make every effort to properly maintain all painted surfaces and clean any possible contaminated areas with a HEPA vacuum and a damp cloth often to reduce lead-paint chips and dust from forming. Change the cleaning solution at least once per room until surface dust is no longer visible.
In homes built prior to the banning of lead-based paint, reducing the exposure to lead dust when doing home repairs is critical. Consult a lead-safe certified contractor to perform repairs and renovations to keep the possibility of lead dust to a minimum. The safest thing to do for your family is to have the air in your home checked for lead-dust contamination.
If you have concerns about the air quality in your home, please give SD Air Quality Pros a call at 619-369-0302. We will do a thorough evaluation of the area to assess the risk for lead dust contamination and make recommendations on how to control it.