The Center for Disease Control estimates there are nearly 1 million children under the age of 6 who have blood lead levels equal to or exceeding the levels
the CDC considers a safe threshold.
Exposure to even low levels of lead have been linked to such health problems as attention deficit, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and decreased IQ scores. Lead is a neurotoxin, which attacks the nervous system, and is especially hazardous to young children and infants.
The primary source of poisoning in our country is lead-based paint. While such paints have been banned for several years, it is estimated that over 50
million homes (83% of private housing built before 1980) still contain lead paint.
Lead contaminated paint is especially prevalent in low-income, urban housing units and especially problematic because of its deteriorating quality.
However, paint is not the only source of lead nor does lead poisoning occur only in inner city neighborhoods. Due to the peculiarities of marketing
laws, lead-based paint can still be sold under names other than "paint" such as, "industrial covering."
These products come in paint cans, are applied with paint spreading equipment and are just as dangerous as lead-based paints. Quite often, they are used to paint shutters, porches, fences and other areas exposed to weathering and heavy foot traffic.
Likewise, lead poisoning has been reported from lead-based glazes used on Mexican pottery (also decorative glasses distributed by fast-food chains) and eye
High levels of lead have been found in calcium supplements, vinyl miniblinds and vinyl products such as toys, backpacks and raincoats. One survey of vinyl products showed that 18% of them contained levels of lead that violated the Consumer Product Safety Commission's recommended limit.
If you plan to remove paint from an older home, know there is a good chance that it contains lead.
This means that professionals who are experienced and will not spread the lead contamination in paint dust should do removal of the old paint. Even if you plan to remove paint from only a small area, consult with a professional firm to determine the safety and health issues that are involved.