The problem might not exist in every single room, so you want to tackle the areas where you have the highest lead, and you might be able to take care of [it] yourselves. In 1992, it was reduced to 0.25 per cent, and in 1997 it was further reduced to 0.1 per cent. Painted surfaces can include walls, floors, doors and window sills. Here’s how to administer the test yourself, and what to do with the results. Lead paint is no longer used today, but it's often found in homes built before 1978. The concern is highest with lead paint that's disturbed – is chipping or peeling, for example. Sheetrock did not replace the commonly used lath and plaster for building interior walls until after World War II. Following this non-lead alternatives were used as pigments. But it can be very serious for young children. You want to hang a picture or a tchotchke on your wall and your wall has lead paint. You really can’t tighten up a house without thinking about what’s going on inside of it— whether it’s lead exposure or radon, which is also an important issue — we’re sitting on top of a radon hot spot in our portion of the country. Even small amounts of dust or chips of paint containing lead, generated during minor home repairs, can be a health risk. If you’re not going to use Velcro or Command strips to hang pictures on your wall and you have chosen to sink an anchor, there’s the proper way to do this without spreading a ton of lead … The toxins contained underneath all the layers will still be exposed through the topcoat, and therefore, always considered dangerous. JZ: With the caveat that we are not lead paint remediators, you want to first remove children from the home before you do this. Removing, repairing or disturbing this paint through normal wear-and-tear (such as paint on doors, windows, stairs and railings) can expose you and your children to serious health risks: lead poisoning can cause anaemia (a deficiency of red blood cells) as well as brain and nervous system damage. Most lead poisoning in children results from eating chips of deteriorating lead-based paint. Semi-gloss white and yellow enamel paint are the most typical culprits of lead paint. You want to hang a picture or a tchotchke on your wall and your wall has lead paint. AF: And it looks at all the layers of paint? Lead in house paint is a problem only if it is damaged or disturbed. Yes, you can paint over lead-based paint, but not with just any type of paint. Plaster walls with lead-based paint are common in older homes. As the homes get “younger,” the risk goes down, but it doesn’t rule it out. Is there a way to keep the plaster and remove the lead paint, or is it easier to just replace with drywall? Painting over lead-based paint, also known as encapsulation, is an effective lead paint remediation technique. And you want to have at least three or four samples to evaluate so your results are valid, and you typically want to take samples from a couple of different areas. So once you’ve removed the visible stuff, you want to paint over it. What you have to do is contain it. An experienchome handy man or woman can repaint a house containing lead if he or she takes the recommended precautions. A secondary indicator that you might be dealing with lead paint … Bear in mind however, that oil and latex paints can crack, flake, and chip as well. Wash children’s hands, toys, bottles, stuffed animals and pacifiers regularly. Painting unprotected or unpainted lead will seal the substrate and prevent it from causing harm. 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