Having lead paint in your home is definitely something you want to avoid. With small children, it can cause issues with their behavior and IQ. It can still cause problems for adults too, such as memory loss or high blood pressure. But how do you know when testing for lead paint in your home is a good idea? The federal government starting prohibiting the use of lead-based paint in 1978, so if your house was built before then, here's when you should consider having lead paint testing done:
If paint is peeling or chipping
Even if a little peeling here and there doesn't seem like a huge deal, it is if lead paint is involved. If the paint is coming off, the little bits of dried paint dust can be in the air in your home or on your furniture and belongings. If paint that has lead in it is starting to come off, you don't want to breathe that in. You also don't want that dust to settle on the toys that your children put in their mouths. You'll want your home tested right away.
If you're planning a renovation
If you're going to renovate part of your house, you will need lead paint testing done. The government requires contractors to use safe work practices if lead paint is involved in the renovation, so they will need to be aware of its presence. Even if you're doing some renovation work by yourself, you'll want to know so that you can use safe practices and not cause harm to yourself or anyone in your household.
If a blood lead test comes back with high levels of lead
Some states have mandatory lead paint testing for children under a certain age since it's such a hazard to them. Sometimes adults request a blood lead test to be done for their children or even themselves if they suspect exposure. Either way, if lead levels of anyone in your household comes back high after a blood test, and no other obvious exposure is at fault, testing for lead paint in your home is a smart idea. That way, you can take action to make your home safer in the future.
If you are exposed to the soil around your house
You don't just have to be concerned about the inside of an older home; lead paint was often used on home exteriors as well. Houses painted with lead paint can contaminate the soil around it, up to a few feet away. If your children play in the soil close to the house or if you're thinking about planting a garden in that area, testing for lead paint beforehand is a good idea.
Breathing in or ingesting lead can be dangerous to you and your children. Even if you don't live in a house built before 1978, if you have any reason to suspect lead paint is in your home, reach out to a company that provides lead testing services so you can know for sure.