What is Lead? Lead is a naturally occurring element that is actually found within the earth’s crust. It can be toxic to humans and animals and is virtually undetectable unless evaluated by a trained professional. It has no smell and can be nearly impossible to detect. Aside from it’s origin, it can also be found in all parts of our environment, in the air, soil, water and unfortunately our homes. Most commonly it is found in older homes where the use of lead based paint was once considered to be safe to use within homes. Lead inspection and risk assessment is the first steps in evaluating your home for lead. Lead abatement can sometimes be ordered by the state or local government in efforts to permanently remove the risk of lead paint poisoning. In addition, the EPA requires facility owners perform lead abatement in pre 1978 housing and child occupied facilities to be certified and follow specific work practices. As you can see, there are many factors, codes and regulations that must be performed only by an experienced technician. What is the difference between Lead inspection and risk assessment? A risk assessment is an investigation given at the property to determine a risk of presence, type, severity and location of lead based paint hazards and an outline of a strategic plan to prevent, treat and control them .Risk assessment can only be performed by a certified risk assessor or lead paint inspector. These are helpful in situations where your home may be fairly new but you want to be sure of any potential hazards, particularly if children or elderly are present. They are helpful in determining potential risk and sources of potential exposure and designing possible solutions. It is important to note that this is a procedure that is only recommended in homes or buildings that are fairly newer and risk of lead is low. Lead Inspection is a surface by surface investigation and determines whether there is in fact lead paint or lead exposure within a facility being occupied or in the process of. A lead inspection legally MUST be performed by a certified lead paint inspector. This is typically done to assess the presence of lead prior to purchasing a home, renting, renovating or moving. You also have the choice to have one or the other executed or having both the assessment AND inspection done at once. Baltimore Lead and Paint Inspectors will provide the legal documentation and written report necessary to either abate the lead or no need to do so.
What to do if Lead based paint is present As previously stated, Lead is nothing to play around with. The health risks are extreme and the longer it is left un-treated the higher the risk of serious health complications. Our certified lead paint inspector’s will make you and your family their priority. We will implement a plan based on what has been found and explain in detail how to implement them. We will thoroughly go over how we intend to legally and professionally abate your home of lead exposure and whatever maintenance may be needed in the future. There may be instances where your risk is high however manageable. In these cases we will go over managing any potential lead hazards with the owner of the property as to properly ensure 100% safety. You may simply decide that abating the home completely rather than maintain a long term regular maintenance program is more practical and will fully protect any occupants. Our dedicated Lead Inspectors at Baltimore Lead and Paint will happily help you decide among those options.
How is lead absorbed and who is at risk? Children are typically the most at risk of exposure to lead. Their growing and undeveloped bodies absorb more lead than adults since their brains and nervous systems are not fully developed making them much more susceptible to the damaging effects of lead. We all know that babies often use their hands in early development as a way of discovery and taste. Because of this it can be directly ingested and the effects can be devastating. Children may also be exposed simply by eating and drinking. If lead is present, it can manifest into dust that settles on nearly any surface including food. This also is a direct transport of dangerous chemicals nearly immediately. Remember that Lead dust can settle anywhere! Toys, glasses, or simply inhaling. Until recently, children were identified as having a blood lead level of concern if the testing results were 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in their blood. The CDC now uses a new level based on the U.S. population of children aged 1-5 who are in the top 2.5% of children when tested for lead in their blood. Currently, that is 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. The lower value indicates that more children likely will be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials and communities to take action earlier in hopes to reduce the threat of lead in the child’s future. Lead exposure also affects adults and is ingested the same way. Our bodies are more equipped to ward off potential illness and our immune systems are fully developed making our bodies a better shield against the hazard. Working at a job or engaging in hobbies where lead may be used can increase exposure. Also being present during renovation or spending extended times in areas where paint may be chipping or damaged is also a higher risk of potential health issues. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk as everything is transferred to the fetus in utero and can possibly cause birth defects or even infertility in men. Much like children, the elderly or ill are susceptible to the hazardous effects of lead paint exposure at a higher rate than a healthy adult. If you have animals, they too are not exempt. Essentially anyone who spends a significant amount of time in a home with lead exposure is at risk for serious health issues.
Literature and resources The U.S. Centers for disease control and prevention’s (CDC) as well as the National Center for Health Statistics monitor lead within blood and their levels in the United States. You can find data and statistics to support the causes, treatment and what happens if exposed. For information of legal necessity and specific codes and regulations, you can visit the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) website for yearly reports and logistical information of what is required by the state in which you reside.