Twin Oaks Home Inspection LLC 

Warning! The lead paint in this house could be hazardous to your health!

Prior to 1978, paints and other products containing lead were widely used in homes and offices. Chipping and pealing paint can expose occupants to this hazardous material. In addition, many older plumbing systems utilized lead-based solder to join pipes. This lead can leach into the water, especially when running hot water. In certain areas, high concentrations of lead can even be found in the ground soil.

Unknown in years past, it is now clear that lead causes a number of health-related problems. In children this can include growth and learning disabilities, headaches and even brain damage. Adults are not immune either. High levels of lead have been tied to problem pregnancies, high-blood pressure and digestive problems.

Before you buy or sell an older home, you need to know what hazards may exist. If selling, federal law stipulates that you must disclose any lead-based paint in the home. If you're buying, you want to know what hazards may be lurking in the walls, as well as in the pipes, before you put up your earnest money. If I see lead products during my inspections, I will explain the hazards that the specific case poses to you and your family and recommend that you contact a qualified professional to do a more comprehensive inspection of areas where lead is suspected. These tradesmen use a range of tools from the well-trained eye to complex, specialized equipment to detect lead levels and recommend appropriate solutions. The National Lead Information Center can help you find a resource.

Many solutions exist for cleaning up lead concentrations. Depending upon your situation, you may find one of these an adequate solution. Removing lead-based paint, for example, may be as much trouble as it is worth. First, just the act of stripping the paint from the walls is likely to create dust and debris which is more likely to be ingested. Given these hazards, you should consult a certified contractor to complete this kind of work. Short of removing the paint, you may be able to get by with covering the old, lead-based paint with a coat of sealant specifically designed for this purpose. Once again, a certified contractor will be able to recommend an appropriate solution. Financial assistance is even available in certain circumstances.

New EPA and New Hampshire Rules for renovations in home built before 1978

took effect in April, 2010

April 22, 2010 brought changes to those working in buildings built before 1978. The Environmental Protection Agency now requires anyone working with more than six square feet of building material to be certified through them for lead awareness. Individuals wanting to become certified with the EPA will need to: Complete an eight hour training course through an accredited training entity for firms to become certified, they must complete an “Applications for Firms” form provided by the EPA and submit it with the appropriate fees. This new requirement also states that, when working in certain areas, contractors will be required to distribute informational materials and massive recordkeeping is to be maintained. For more information, about lead please visit www.epa.gov/lead

IF you decide to remove a small amount of lead paint that is chipping or pealing by yourself, be aware of the dangers and the necessary precautions that need to be taken to safeguard your health and the health of others. Be sure to protect yourself with rated mask, gloves, tyvek suit, etc. AND protect the area by sealing off rooms.  All product should be collected and stored in heavy plastic bags or containers with lids for transport to the Solid Waste Facility in your area.  Notify the operator that the product contains lead.  Do not dispose of in trash. Wash down all areas after work is completed to remove any dust that could be injested by children entering the room.  Throw out the towels with the lead products in a plastic bag.

For more information on the Lead: Renovation and the Repair and Painting (RRP) Program, please visit www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm

So even though a house may not carry a warning label from the EPA, a little common sense and a sharp eye should keep your family safe.

For information on dealing with lead paint in your home visit www.hud.gov/offices/lead/training/