Protect Your Family from Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning
Posted at 8:45 AM, Oct 21, 2014
and last updated 2016-07-04 12:06:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- It's National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, so this Angie’s List report is all about keeping your family

Lead paint lurks in forty percent of the nation’s homes – about 36 million homes across the U.S. -- and any amount can impact a child.

Kids under the age of six are especially vulnerable, which can severely affect physical and mental development.

Most kids are poisoned when they breathe in or swallow lead dust.

“Especially if you live in a home that’s built before 1978 you probably have older windows so every time you open those windows and close them, you might not see it, but it’s happening inside those little crevices of the window, said environmental health risk expert Dollis Wright.

Dangerous amounts of lead dust can also be created when lead-based paint is disturbed during renovation, repair or painting jobs.

 That’s why federal law requires any contractor who disturbs lead paint to be EPA certified and follow strict work practices to prevent contamination.

For example they should be using HEPA filters. They should be using plastic sheeting to completely seal off the area. They should also wear protective foot covers, protective clothing. If you see any signs that make you uncomfortable, you should stop the work immediately," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.

If you’re planning a remodeling project, Angie’s List says arm yourself with information and verify your contractor has the proper training. 

“Even if you live in a newer house, you should always be concerned about where your children visit. Is Grandma’s house built before 1978? Other family members, even a day care, because in those scenarios, you want to be sure that those places are safe as well," said Hicks.

Wright adds: “There’s no cure for it and so, once you’re poisoned it’s for life."

Only a blood test can confirm lead poisoning. If you have concerns about lead exposure, push your child’s doctor to do an evaluation.

Experts say if your house was built before 1978, assume the paint has lead in it unless tests show otherwise.