What to Do if You Find Lead Paint in Your Home

If you’re like most people, you know that lead paint can be incredibly harmful to your health – but what are you supposed to do if you find it in your home? Here’s what you need to know.

What to Do if You Find Lead Paint in Your Home

Many homes and apartments built before 1978 often contain lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned it for consumer use (although some states banned it even earlier) – but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t under layers of newer paint in your home. Usually, if the uppermost layer of paint is in good shape, lead paint beneath isn’t a problem – but when lead paint deteriorates, it’s a hazard that demands immediate attention.

Emergency Steps to Take if You Find Lead-Based Paint in Your House or Apartment

First things first: If you’re a renter and you suspect that there’s lead paint in your home, you need to call the homeowner or property manager immediately and ask for an inspection. If you’re a homeowner, you’ll want to call an inspector yourself or send paint chips to an inspector who can make a determination.

Even before you can bring in an inspector, though, take these steps:

  1. Pick up any paint chips you find.
  2. Keep kids’ play areas clean – and away from areas that you suspect have lead paint.
  3. Don’t allow children to chew on painted surfaces, such as windowsills.
  4. Clean the dust off your windowsills and other surfaces regularly, and do so with a sponge, mop or damp paper towel. That way, you won’t stir up potentially toxic dust. Rinse your sponge or mop thoroughly after you finish cleaning.
  5. Remove your shoes when you enter your home so you don’t bring in lead that’s in your soil. This is particularly important if you suspect that the exterior of your home has lead paint.

Pro Tip: Make sure you and your family are eating a healthy, balanced diet. The Environmental Protection Agency says that people with good diets absorb less lead from the environment.

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