Surface lead may also be checked on walls using a paint testing kit purchased at your local hardware shop. You rub a solution on the wall to perform the test. Lead is present if the solution becomes pink. If the wall is covered with other materials, such as latex, then it cannot be determined whether or not they contain lead without performing some sort of analysis.
If you suspect that your house was built before 1978, there's a good chance that it contains lead-based paint. That's because houses built before this time were often painted with lead-based paints to protect children from lead poisoning. The government banned the use of lead paint for residential purposes in 1978. However, the old paint still remains, especially on older buildings.
When cleaning areas that may have lead-based paint, take care not to ingest any material that may go into your mouth. Lead is very toxic if it enters your body through your mouth or nose. There are several ways that you could do this include eating contaminated food, breathing in lead dust, or drinking wine or beer that has been sitting on a table for many years containing lead pigments used to color the wine or beer.
The best way to avoid lead exposure is by having the work done properly by a certified contractor using protective equipment.
The issue is that the test has limitations. It only discovers lead on the surface. The test would fail if the lead-based paint was covered over with fresh paint. While coating (or encasing) lead-based paint is one method of limiting its hazard, it is not the best. Painters can miss locations while encapsulating lead-based paint, according to Sisson. They also report finding places where they did not expect to find lead-based paint during renovations or remodels.
The best way to protect children from lead exposure is through "dust free" housekeeping practices. This includes cleaning up any crumbs or dust that may contain lead such as old paint, metal polish, soldered items, etc. Household cleaners should never be used to clean areas you intend to place your child in (such as their bedroom) because they contain chemicals that will break down into smaller pieces that are able to enter body tissues.
If you do find lead-based paint in your home, there are certified professionals who can remove it for you. An HVAC technician cannot replace heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units but he or she can check them for damage caused by lead-based paint. The same goes for water heaters. Your hvac technician can tell if a unit needs to be replaced but they cannot determine if it is safe to use without testing it first. For water heaters, this means getting a lead risk assessment before you have any work done on your heater.
The only way to know if a piece of crockery contains lead is to test it. If the dishes contain leachable lead, you can use a home lead test kit to find out. These tests are particularly effective when it comes to identifying high amounts of lead. When putting together your cleaning solution, try not to use too much acid or alkali since that will make the testing process difficult.
If in doubt, throw it out! Lead-contaminated food can be harmful to humans, even at low levels of exposure. Therefore, it is important to avoid eating any lead-containing items without knowing it. If you are unsure about whether or not your food contains lead, don't eat it! Lead is toxic to humans in small amounts over time. Eating lead can cause brain damage, behavior problems, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Here are some common lead-containing items:
Cookware such as pots and pans - Lead has been used as a glaze for cooking utensils since ancient times; it is resistant to heat and does not break down during cooking. As long as the object is using lead as its core material, it will remain toxic even after it has cooled down.
Lead glass - Also called antique glass, this type of window decoration uses lead oxide as its main ingredient.
A recognized laboratory is the only method to test a toy for lead. There are do-it-yourself kits available. These kits, however, do not reveal the amount of lead present, and their accuracy in detecting low levels of lead has not been determined. The best way to ensure that lead toys are not toxic is to discard them instead of recycling or repairing them.
If you are considering buying lead toys, here are some tips for avoiding lead exposure:
Don't buy lead toys! Even if you can find lead free toys at your local store, they still may contain small amounts of lead which could be released under pressure or when heated during play. Lead poisoning is harmful to children's health even at low levels of exposure. The best thing to do is avoid lead toys completely. If you must buy lead toys, then wash them off with hot soapy water immediately after use.
Lead is dangerous for everyone - especially infants and toddlers who can put everything in their mouths - so don't use lead toys or anything that has lead based paint on it. If you aren't sure about something, ask the owner questions like "is this toy made before 1978?" or "is this site licensed?". Licensed sites are required by law to disclose all known hazards. Unlicensed sites may not have the same safety standards or care enough to post warnings.
The most straightforward approach to determine whether people at risk in your family have been harmed by lead in paint is to have a blood lead test performed by your family doctor. Even if the blood test results reveal that your kid does not have an elevated blood-lead level, a paint danger may exist if deteriorating paint is present. Home inspections by certified inspectors who use special tools to look for signs of lead paint damage are another way to identify homes with lead paint hazards.
If you think that you or someone in your family may have been exposed to lead, take the next step by getting tested. The first thing you should do is get all the members of your family tested together. Lead exposure tends to be cumulative, so even if one member's levels are fine, others might not be. If any member of your family has a blood lead level above 15 micromoles per liter (umol/L), action should be taken to remove all potential sources of lead from your home environment.
The only sure way to know for certain whether you or someone in your family has been exposed to lead is through blood testing. Even if your child's levels are fine now, they could rise over time if they were exposed to lead while in the home. Children's blood lead levels increase gradually over time after being exposed to lead, so check their levels periodically until it is determined that they are no longer at risk.