Lead Based Paint

Lead-Based Paint Inspection & Treatment in Maryland

Lead Is A Dangerous Environmental Hazard

Lead is one of the most significant and widespread environmental hazards for children in Maryland. Children are at greatest risk from birth to age six while their neurological systems are developing. Lead tends to build up in the body over time. So someone who takes in only small amounts of lead can gradually develop lead poisoning.

A pregnant woman with lead carried in her blood can pass lead to her unborn child.

A child who consumes a dangerous amount of lead may seem to be well, but lead can affect the brain, causing learning disabilities and behavior problems. 

A blood lead test can help find out if someone has taken in too much lead, before there are any outward signs of illness. Ask your doctor or clinic about a lead test.

Lead Poisoning Prevention: What Every Parent Should Know!

Who can get lead poisoning?

Anyone who eats, drinks, or breathes something which has too much lead can get lead poisoning, but children from 6 months to 6 years old are the main victims of lead poisoning.

How does lead affect health?

Sustained exposure to lead can cause long-lasting neurological damage or death. Effects of sustained exposure include learning disabilities, shortened attention span, irritability, and lowered IQ.
    Lead can also affect the blood, kidneys, and other parts of the body.
      As lead poisoning becomes serious, symptoms include stomach aches, loss of appetite, or loss of interest. Some children may also become overly active or fussy and irritable.

      What causes lead poisoning?

      Lead-based house paint was used in most homes before l950. Lead was still used in some house paints until 1978. Paint on your window frames and on porches is very likely to present a risk for children.

      Small children put things in their mouths. They chew on window sills, they eat paint chips, and they suck on their hands. Lead from crumbling paint gets into household dust, and anything that gets dusty (like toys, pets, and fingers) can then become a source of lead poisoning.

      Older furniture (cribs, play pens, chairs, etc.) and painted toys may have lead paint.

      Old or imported ceramic dishes may be decorated with lead glazes. Food that comes in contact with a lead glaze will pick up some of the lead.

      Many children will eat almost anything. Dirt, including soil from flower pots, plaster, ashes, and charcoal all may have lead.

      Making Your Home Lead-Safe

      Care of Walls, Windows, and Trim

      Maryland regulations do not allow dry scraping, sanding, or burning of lead paint, because these methods create health hazards. Do replace old windows and wood trim that have deteriorated. Do use only safe methods for removing old paint. Carefully contain and dispose of the hazardous debris and dust from lead paint removal.

      Call the Maryland Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at (410) 631-3859 to learn more about safely removing lead paint hazards.

      Dust Control

      In older houses, lead from old paint can mix with household dust. Special cleaning will lower this hazard. Clean rugs each week with a vacuum. Damp mop floors with a high-phosphate cleaner, such as automatic dishwashing detergent. Mix one tablespoon of detergent with a gallon of hot water. Dust furniture and other surfaces with a damp cloth and high-phosphate cleaner

      Use of Toys, Furniture, and Containers

      Older items, such as a crib or toy, which may have been painted with lead paint should be removed from your home. Metal containers, such as pewter or brass pitchers, may have lead and should not be used for food or beverages. Old or imported ceramic containers or dishes which have been coated with lead glazes should not be used.

      Effects of Lead

      Lead affects the body in many ways. If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
      • Damage to the brain and nervous system 
      • Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity) 
      • Slowed growth 
      • Hearing problems 
      • Headaches 
      Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from: 
      • Difficulties during pregnancy 
      • Other reproductive problems (in both men and women) 
      • High blood pressure 
      • Digestive problems 
      • Nerve disorders 
      • Memory and concentration problems 
      • Muscle and joint pains 

      Where Lead Paint is Found

      Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint

      In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned lead-based paint from housing. Lead can be found:
      •  Inside and outside of the house
      •  In soil around a home: Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars
      • In homes in the city, country, or suburbs
      •  In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing

      Where Lead Is Likely To Be A Hazard

      Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard. Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention. Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can both be serious hazards.

      Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it. 

      Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes.

      Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces including:
      • Windows and window sills
      • Doors and door frames
      • Stairs, railings, and banister
      • Porches and fences

      Other Sources of Lead

      While paint, dust, and soil are the most common lead hazards, other lead sources also exist.

      Drinking Water
      Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead.
      If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
      • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. 
      • Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours
      The Job
      If you work with lead, in lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your clothes separately from the rest of your family's.

      • Old painted toys and furniture
      • Refinishing furniture 
      • Lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery or porcelain
      • Stained glass
      • Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach
              Call ABB Environmental to schedule a lead-based paint inspection
              We offer XRF testing (the most comprehensive testing for lead based paint on surfaces available), dust wipe sampling for laboratory analysis, soil sampling, water sampling, risk assessment, certification inspections and clearance inspections.

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