Note: Federal Law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying pre-1978 housing: Landlords must disclose known information about lead-based paint and paint hazards before leases take effect. These leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Sellers must also disclose known information about lead-based paint and paint hazards before selling a house. Contracts must include a disclosure form and buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead hazards. Federal law also requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and trained to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Lead was once a common additive found in paints and pottery glazes, gasoline, indoor plumbing, and various other materials. Today we understand lead to be a toxin that poses serious health risks for individuals with either intense or prolonged exposure to lead-containing materials. Adults can experience lasting complications such as high blood pressure and hypertension, headaches, irritability, low appetite, and reduced sensation, but it is children under the age of six who are particularly at risk and vulnerable to more permanent side effects of lead poisoning. Because of lead’s ability to interfere with brain and nervous system processes, developmental and behavioral problems such as attention issues, aggression, and reduced IQ can occur even in cases of mild lead poisoning. Since levels can slowly build in the body over time, often there are no visible symptoms of lead poisoning.
The most common way lead from the environment can enter the body is through inhalation or normal hand-to-mouth activities–like playing and eating (especially in young children)–of lead-contaminated dust, soil, or deteriorating paint chips.
Unlike other health issues, lead poisoning is entirely preventable. HUD estimates that at least 24 million American homes still contain lead-based paint risks and lead poisoning continues to be a major health problem for children under the age of six.
If you own or rent housing built before 1978, if you regularly visit an older home or childcare facility, or if a friend/relative has been diagnosed with lead poisoning, you should consider testing your property, your children, and yourself for harmful levels of lead. People purchasing real estate, landlords, and individuals or construction crews performing repairs, renovations, or remodels on older homes are also advised to be aware of the potential risk of lead poisoning.
A Lead Based Paint Inspection is defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence or absence of Lead Based Paint. The inspector will perform a visual check of the property, looking for potential lead-based paint hazards such as peeling, chipping, or flaking paint, and examine settled dust samples on window sills, doorways, and floors to see if they contain lead. This type of testing will determine the lead content of each type of surface that is sampled.
Inspections are performed following protocols designed by the HUD and ASTM and utilize a portable X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer (XRF) device that takes sample measurements in a quick, accurate, and non-destructive way. XRF is the preferred testing method of the HUD and its data is recognized as legally defensible.
A Lead Based Paint Risk Assessment is conducted to determine whether lead-based paint hazards exist and, if so, provides solutions for reducing and managing such hazards. Risk Assessment is a multi-step process. Our consultants first interview our clients to create an overview of the occupants and property; including the age of the building occupants, use patterns, etc. Next, a visual inspection of the property for any areas exhibiting deteriorated paint as well as high friction and impact surfaces. We will then test those surfaces identified as potential hazards using an XRF device that takes sample measurements in a quick, accurate, and non-destructive way. All of this data is then evaluated and a plan is developed to reduce or remove any identified hazards. At Bluepoint Environmental we understand the need for safe, immediate, and cost-effective recommendations when dealing with environmental hazards, so each risk assessment report provides clear, common sense management techniques to reduce your exposure to lead until complete abatement can occur.
Clearance testing should be conducted after any repair or renovation activity that disturbs lead-based paint. Our consultants will visually inspect the property to confirm that all necessary abatement work has been properly completed and that the space was thoroughly cleaned (i.e. dust-free) and is safe for reoccupation.