Before 1978, lead was a common component of household paint, but once people understood the dangers of lead poisoning, the federal government banned its use. In some states, it was even banned earlier than 1978. If you own an older home or have just bought one, it is important to be alert to the dangers of lead paint. In this article, we are going to look at why lead paint is dangerous and what you should do next if you suspect your home contains lead paint. 

Why is Lead Paint Dangerous?

Paint containing lead isn’t dangerous when it is freshly painted onto a surface unless you drink it straight from the can – which nobody in their right mind would think of doing. However, lead paint is dangerous when it starts to crack or peel, or when it is sanded down and dust is released into the atmosphere. 

When lead paint is ingested or inhaled, it can cause a lot of damage to organs, nerves, and blood. The damage is far greater in children, so they are much more at risk from lead poisoning. Children are often inclined to pick at flaking paint and may be tempted to put paint flakes in their mouths. Pets are also at risk of doing the same and falling victim to lead poisoning. 

If you are renovating an old home, be very careful not to disturb old paint. If you are worried it could contain lead, have it tested first. 

The Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

The symptoms of lead poisoning are quite vague, which makes it hard to get a diagnosis in the early stages. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, and insomnia. If you don’t know you have been exposed to lead-based paint, you might not realize what the problem is. 

Children exhibit the same symptoms but may also suffer from weight loss, hearing loss, and failure to thrive. Exposure to lead paint can cause developmental delays and learning difficulties in babies and children. It can also affect unborn babies if a pregnant woman is exposed to lead paint.

Getting a Diagnosis

A blood test can detect lead poisoning. This will check lead levels in the blood and if they are higher than normal, it is a definitive diagnosis of lead poisoning. In children, any presence of lead in the blood is undesirable but a level of 5+ mcg/dl is considered unsafe. Anything higher than 45 mcg/dl must be treated. 

What Happens Next?

The first thing you must do is remove the lead from your living environment. This may mean painting over old lead paint or paying a contractor to remove it safely. For low levels of lead poisoning, avoiding more exposure may be enough. If higher levels of lead are found in the blood, chelation therapy is typically recommended.

If a landlord or employer is the reason why you have been exposed to lead paint, contact a toxic tort lawyer like Romanucci & Blandin

Always play it safe if you suspect you have lead paint in your home. Speak to an expert, have a sample tested, and don’t take any chances.