Getting Rid of Lead
If you're about to paint, renovate, or remodel your older home, or if you have young children or a pregnant person in the house, don't gamble! Get your paint tested for lead first before doing any construction. The cost of the test is minimal compared to the health protection it buys your family.
Removing lead-based paint improperly can actually increase the danger to your family and working around lead paint can produce toxic dust that can be inhaled. Remember, simply painting over lead-based paint with non-lead paint isn't the solution. Instead, here are ways you can get rid of lead in your home:
- Cover It: You can spray the surface with a sealant or cover it with gypsum wallboard. Sealing or covering lead paint can be cheaper than removal.
- Remove It: Wet methods help reduce the amount of lead dust during removal. Be sure the professionals contain the lead dust and fumes. Wet-clean all areas before reentering.
- Wet Mop and Wipe: Another way to contain lead dust is to periodically wet mop and wipe surfaces and floors with a high phosphorous (at least five percent) cleaning solution. This is a preventive measure and is not an alternative to replacement or removal.
Contact your state and local health departments' lead poisoning prevention programs or the housing authorities for more information. They can tell you about testing labs and contractors who can safely remove lead-based paint. Or contact the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at (800) 424-LEAD.
But that's not the last word on lead if you're a homebuyer or seller....