Lead paint is paint that uses lead in its pigment component. Lead
was commonly found in paint before 1978 because it sped drying,
increased durability, and was resistant to moisture. In 1978, it was
banned in the United States because it was discovered that exposure to
lead through ingestion or inhalation is harmful to a person’s health.
While dangerous to people of all ages, lead paint is especially
dangerous to developing children under age six. Lead paint may cause
kidney problems, irritability, loss of muscle coordination,
irreversible brain damage, seizures, and death. Blood tests are the
best way to diagnose lead poisoning because symptoms may not always be
present. Some homeowners choose to cover surfaces coated in lead paint
rather than remove it. Homeowners who decide to remove their lead paint
should consider hiring an experienced contractor to handle lead paint
removal, because certain ways of removal may stir up lead dust.
Realtors and landlords are required by law to notify potential
inhabitants about lead paint exposure. Homeowners who live in a house
built before 1978 should consult with their pediatrician about testing
any small children for lead poisoning.