By far the biggest source of concern is the lead paint that is found in our nation’s older housing. Until 1978, lead paint was commonly used on the interiors and exteriors of our homes. Today, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that about 38 million homes in the US still contain some lead paint. Lead paint that is allowed to deteriorate creates a lead-based paint hazard. It can contaminate household dust as well as bare soil around the house, where children may play. In either situation, a child who comes in contact with lead-contaminated dust or soil is easily poisoned. All it takes is a hand-to-mouth activity, which is perfectly normal for young children to engage in. The lead dust equivalent to a single grain of salt can cause a child to register in an elevated blood lead level.
Children and adults both can get seriously poisoned when renovation and remodeling activities take place in a home that contains lead paint. Anytime a surface containing lead paint is worked on, the debris and dust created by the work must be contained and thoroughly cleaned up, and those doing the work must have adequate personal protection to prevent them from breathing in any lead dust generated by the work. It is therefore of critical importance that lead paint be identified prior to the commencement of any renovation or remodeling work, and that lead-safe work practices are used during such activities.