Lead has always been a problem in household through the years.
But it has gained notoriety and generated a wider awareness in recent years due to nationwide product recalls of toys found to contain it.
Lead appears to do more harm to children than to adults. However, it doesn’t mean that you can safely sidestep this problem if you’ve grown up.
It still poses a health hazard.
What is lead?
Lead is a natural highly toxic metal originating from the earth’s crust.
That statement alone should instinctively inform you that it does no favors to the human body.
It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This is a reason why we can consume it without even knowing.
Because it’s properties are desirable in certain classes of products, and fairly inexpensive, they are used in a variety of household products.
Exposure to lead can lead to serious health conditions that are often associated to the central nervous system.
Some of which are:
- Lower IQ
- Slow mental development
While these are often the biggest concerns with lead exposure, it’s dangers are not limited to brain-related conditions.
It can also lead to:
- Kidney failure
The only silver lining (if you can even call it that) is the ease of detecting whether you are carrying dangerously high levels of lead in the body. This can be easily checked with a routine blood test.
And because the last thing a parent would want is to have his or her child’s brain development be negatively disrupted, kids should be tested for lead levels in the blood if a parent suspects the kid has been exposed to lead.
Where does it come from?
The biggest source of lead contamination at home is lead-based paint.
Lead based paint
Paint containing lead were sold by the bucket loads for homes before 1978. Taking into consideration that a lot of houses were built during that period, there is every chance that your home could contain it too if it’s not new.
Yet even if your house do indeed have lead-based paint, it’s presence will be benign as long as the paint is not disturbed.
This is because it’s main method of entering the human body is via the air as an airborne pollutant. There is little possibility of it dislodging itself from the paint and launching itself into the air.
So just be mindful if you discover the paint starting to peel or chip. Or if you are undergoing a renovation at home.
While it is recommended to hire professionals certified for lead-related works when removing lead-based paint, a lot of homeowners bravely choose to take on the task of removing or painting over it themselves.
If this form of action is what you are considering, do be mindful that you should wear a mask certified to protect you from lead.
And never use scraping or sanding as a removal method. It will just make matter worse as if kicking up sand on a playground.
And in case you are wondering, yes you will need to relocate temporarily while construction is going on. This is for you and your family’s safety.
Another major source of lead is piping.
Pipes containing lead might be used for the plumbing inside the house. If that is the case, lead can make it’s way into the water supply and into the food and water you consume.
You will need to test for water contamination to know for sure.
While the origins of lead that enters a house is via the two mentioned sources most of the time, it can also be brought back home from the outside.
Since lead is a substance used in various material for construction, we can carry it on our shoes or clothing from outdoors into the house.
Even though these channels don’t usually bring a significant amount of lead into a house, it is still a cause for concern taking into account the serious health problems it can cause.