Lead-based paint is a significant hazard, especially for children under six years old, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Lead poisoning can cause severe health problems, including developmental delays, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems. The US government banned the use of lead-based paint in housing in 1978, but many properties still have it. Therefore, it’s essential to conduct a lead-based paint inspection before buying or renting a property built before the ban.
What is Lead-Based Paint Inspection?
A lead-based paint inspection is a thorough evaluation of a property to identify the presence, location, and condition of lead-based paint. Inspectors use X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers to measure the lead content in paint samples. They also check for other lead-based paint hazards such as lead dust and soil. The inspection report provides information on the type and location of the lead-based paint, its condition, and recommendations for addressing it.
When Do You Need a Lead-Based Paint Inspection?
If you’re buying or renting a property built before 1978, federal law requires the seller or landlord to disclose information about any known lead-based paint hazards. However, they may not know or disclose the information. Therefore, it’s wise to have an independent lead-based paint inspection conducted by a certified inspector before closing the deal or moving in. You also need an inspection if you’re planning to renovate or repair a property built before 1978, especially if the work involves disturbing painted surfaces.
Who Can Conduct a Lead-Based Paint Inspection?
Only certified inspectors can conduct lead-based paint inspections. These inspectors have undergone specialized training, passed an exam, and obtained certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or state lead-based paint program. You can find certified inspectors by searching the EPA’s website or contacting your state or local health department.
How Much Does a Lead-Based Paint Inspection Cost?
The cost of a lead-based paint inspection varies depending on the size of the property, the number of painted surfaces, and the location. On average, a lead-based paint inspection costs between $300 and $600. However, the cost may be higher if the inspection includes testing for lead dust and soil.
What Happens If Lead-Based Paint is Found?
If lead-based paint is found, the inspection report will recommend actions to address the hazard. These actions may include painting over the lead-based paint with a sealant, replacing the painted surface, or removing the paint. The recommended action depends on the condition and location of the lead-based paint and the level of exposure. You should hire a professional to address the hazard to avoid exposing yourself or your family to lead.
How Can You Prevent Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning is preventable if you take the necessary precautions. If you live in a property built before 1978, follow these tips to reduce your exposure to lead-based paint:
- Keep painted surfaces in good condition and clean them regularly with a wet mop or cloth. Don’t use abrasive cleaners that can create lead dust.
- Keep children away from peeling or chipping paint and avoid letting them chew on painted surfaces.
- Wash your hands and your children’s hands frequently, especially before eating and sleeping.
- Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner to clean up lead dust.
- Test your home for lead-based paint hazards regularly, especially if you have young children or pregnant women in the house.
Lead-based paint inspection is critical in identifying and addressing lead-based paint hazards in properties built before 1978. Certified inspectors use specialized tools and methods to evaluate the presence, location, and condition of lead-based paint. If lead-based paint is found, the inspection report provides recommendations for addressing the hazard. Taking the necessary precautions to prevent lead poisoning is essential, especially for young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.