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Lead In The Home

Sources of Lead Poisoning. There are many sources of lead in the environment beacuse of the widespread use of lead in the past. For most households, and for most childrn, the major source of lead is contaminated dust. The most important sources of lead contamination of dust are from old paint and from leaded gasoline (now banned for most uses). Near major traffic corridors, soils are sometimes heavily contaminated from the prior use of leaded gas. As an element, lead does not decompose, and it tends to stay in place over the years. If this soil is tracked into the house, it becomes an important health hazard. Other minor sources can contain lead as well, such as older, vinyl mini-blinds.

Play areas with lead contamination can be a source of exposure due to hand-tomouth activity. Frequent handwashing is especially important. Landscaping with grass or dense shrubs can keep kids from coming in direct contact with contaminated soils. Soils of lands used as orchards in the 1940's may also be contaminated with lead (and arsenic) from pesticides used during that era.

To find out more about lead click on each topic below.

Lead paint


Lead in water

Lead and Real Estate

Lead Paint. Prior to 1950, paint contained as much as 50% lead. This amount was reduced in later years, and lead paint was banned from residential use in 1978. Lead paint in good condition poses little risk, although friction surfaces (windows, doors, floors, and stairs) are a concern. Paint that is peeling or deteriorating is especially risky. As a general rule, the older the home, the greater the risk of lead paint. Occupants' poverty level and the house's disrepair are also strong predictors of a lead hazard. Chewable surfaces (e.g., child accessible window sills, projecting moldings, painted knobs and handles, etc.) in homes with young children are also a concern if lead-based paint is present.

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Remodeling. Some remodeling activities can produce heavy contamination if lead paint is involved. It is imperative that such work be done with an awareness of this possibility and with appropriate measures taken to control and contain lead paint chips and dust (a good cleanup may not be sufficient) to protect both workers and occupants. As of June 1999, contractors must provide occupants with a pamphlet on lead poisoning hazards if the work will disturb more than two square feet of paint in pre-1978 housing.

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Lead in water This is another potential source of lead. Contaminated water usually occurs from lead in solder, fixtures, and piping in the home. Overall, the EPA estimates that about 10% of total lead intake is from water. Naturally soft water is more likely to leach lead from the home's plumbing than hard water.

One interesting note is that there is no lead in a lead pencil!

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Lead and Real Estate. Federal legislation affects the sale and rental of nearly all residential properties built before 1978, the year when lead was banned from residential paint. While there are many provisions and details to this law, known as Title X, the most important parts involve disclosure of lead hazards.

Property sellers or landlords are required to disclose information on known lead hazards in their buildings (e.g. data from prior testing). Buyers are given 10 days to have lead hazard testing conducted at their own expense. Sellers or landlords are also required to provide the buyer/renter with the EPA/CPSC pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home which describes the lead poisoning issue.

This is a scaled down version
of our main environmental health site. For more detailed information please visit our main site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chd/volusia/EH/index.html