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Simple things that you can do to prevent childhood lead pois

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Simple things that you can do to prevent childhood lead pois

By: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector
Simple things that you can do to prevent childhood lead poisoning

Submitted by: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic GI 0121, President of Accurate Inspections, Inc, a New Jersey home inspection company

KEEP YOUR HOME AS CLEAN AND FREE FROM DUST AS POSSIBLE.

The best way to clean up lead dust is to regularly wet mop your floors, wipe window ledges, and wash all surfaces with water and household detergent.

TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING THE HOUSE, make sure they are wiped well on a doormat outside the house. This will help prevent lead dust and soil from getting into the house.

CHANGE OUT OF WORK CLOTHES and take a shower before coming home if you work with lead at your job. Lead dust brought home on the clothes of workers can spread in the house and poison children. Lead is used in many workplaces such as radiator repair shops, battery manufacturing plants and lead smelters.

NEVER SAND, BURN OR SCRAPE PAINT unless you know that it does not contain lead.

TEST PAINTED SURFACES FOR LEAD in any area that you plan to remodel, before you begin the work. If lead is in the paint, learn how to handle the paint safely. If the work is not done the right way, lead dust can scatter and poison your family, pets, neighbors and workers.

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING HABITS. Eating regular and healthy meals may make it harder for lead to hurt your child. Meals should include fruits and vegetables as well as calcium-rich foods (milk, cheese, yogurt, corn tortillas, tofu or bean curd) and iron-rich foods (meat, chicken, iron-fortified cereals, raisins, and dried fruit).

WASH CHILDREN\'S HANDS OFTEN, especially before eating.

DO NOT USE OLDER, IMPORTED OR HANDMADE DISHES for serving, preparing or storing food or drink unless you know that they do not contain lead. (For more information on testing for lead in dishes, call your local health department.)

AVOID HOBBIES THAT USE LEAD. Hobbies that use lead include soldering, or making stained glass, bullets, or fishing sinkers.

KEEP FURNITURE AWAY FROM DAMAGED PAINT. Do not place cribs, playpens, beds or high chairs next to areas where paint is chipping or peeling, or can be chewed.

HOW TO HANDLE A HOME THAT HAS BEEN PAINTED WITH LEAD BASED PAINT?

Replace lead painted objects by removing the object from the house and replacing it with a new, lead-free item. For example, a door may be removed by its hinges and replaced with a new, safe door. Do not burn any lead-painted item you remove from your home. Wrap the item in heavy plastic and keep it away from your children. This takes the lead out of your home and it does not create a lot of lead dust.

Cover surfaces that cannot be replaced, such as walls or floors, with a long lasting, tough material like sheet rock, paneling or floor tiles. Because covering does not get the lead paint out of your home, walls or floors that are newly covered must be kept in good condition. Repainting with new paint or hanging wallpaper is not a permanent method of covering lead paint. If the new paint or wallpaper peels, the lead paint will be exposed again.

HOW DOES THE LEAD GET FROM THE PAINT INTO MY CHILD?

Over many years, painted surfaces crumble into household dust. This dust clings to toys, fingers and other objects that children normally put into their mouths. This is the most common way that lead gets into your child. Children also get lead into their bodies by chewing on lead painted surfaces. Some young children eat paint that is peeling or chipping.

WHY IS LEAD IN PAINT?

Lead is used to make paint last longer. The amount of lead in paint was reduced in 1950 and further reduced again in 1978. Houses built before 1950 are very likely to contain lead paint while houses built after 1950 will have less lead in the paint. House paint sold today has very low levels of lead. Lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning in children.

HOW CAN I REMOVE LEAD PAINT:

Sanding, burning or scraping lead paint is the most dangerous way of removing lead paint!

This makes large amounts of lead dust or fumes which can poison workers, household members and pets. WARNING: THERE ARE MANY PRECAUTIONS THAT NEED TO BE FOLLOWED BEFORE YOU BEGIN.

Pregnant women, children, and family pets should not be present when this type of work is being done. Only those who are working should be in the home and the work area should be sealed off from the rest of the house with heavy plastic and tape.

A special respirator should be worn by the people removing the paint to prevent lead dust from being inhaled. Have your respirator professionally fitted and use a respirator only with a doctor\'s advice. Do not eat, drink, chew gum or smoke in the work area. Outdoor work should not be done on a windy day because the lead dust may poison workers and neighbors. Use a drop cloth to catch and contain any paint chips. Test the paint in any area you plan to remodel before you begin the work.

Never sand, burn, scrape or use paint remover with methylene chloride on lead paint. All paint removers are hazardous. Follow the instructions printed on the label.

These are just a few of the precautions that need to be followed. If these and others are not followed, lead poisoning may occur. Before you begin this type of project, call your local health department to find out how to make this project as safe as possible


Information provided by Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic. GI 0121, American Society of Home Inspectors Member 102273, Pesident of Accurate Inspections, Inc. A West Paterson New Jersey Home Inspection firm.

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