Lead represents one of the most insidious dangers we face from our homes, mainly because it’s unseen and its effects aren’t always immediately apparent. But a majority of structures built before 1978 have at least some lead in the paint, dust or soil, and it represents a threat to every member of the family, especially children and pets.
With the warmer months here to stay, many people are fixing up their homes, either themselves or using a contractor. That process can expose old lead paint and disturb dust and soil that has been contaminated with lead.
For that reason, this month our to-do list features recommendations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for keeping your family safe when you’re doing work around the house.
According to HUD, there are six principles everyone who lives in or works on a pre-1978 structure should remember:
1. ASSUME: Paint in homes built before 1978 contains lead (unless a lead-based paint inspection shows it doesn’t)
2. CHECK: Federal, state, and local regulations before doing any work
3. AVOID: Creating dust. Keep dust contained to immediate work area
4. PROTECT: Occupants, particularly children
5. CLEAN UP: After all work, which is particularly important if painted surfaces were broken or wall cavities were opened
6. MAINTAIN: A dry building. Moisture problems can cause paint peeling and chipping, building deterioration and encourage pests