Home and the Environment
Lead paint can be found in homes built before 1978—and it's almost
guaranteed you'll find at least some lead paint in older houses.
We all know that chips of lead paint are dangerous because children
can put them in their mouths. A less-obvious danger is the lead
dust created when two painted surfaces rub together—double-hung
windows, for example—or lead dust raised during renovation.
for lead before beginning any renovation project that will disturb
painted surfaces. Call a local testing lab for instructions on how
to gather the samples. Do-it-yourself testing kits are also available
at many home centers.
lead-based paint must be removed, it is usually best to leave the
job to a licensed abatement contractor. They will take special precautions
to avoid releasing lead dust throughout the house.
you decide to remove the paint yourself, do some research first
to find out how to protect yourself and others in the house from
lead poisoning. Among other things, you'll find that:
need a respirator
is recommended that your clothes go straight into the washer (alone)
as soon as you finish working
vac helps clean up dust without scattering it as regular vacuums
A thorough washdown of all surfaces with TSP is recommended.
removal methods are considered safest. Scraping and sanding are
not viable methods because they cause dust. Heat-stripping must
be done at low temperatures to avoid vaporizing the lead. Proper
disposal of the paint debris is vital. Contact your local solid
waste department for instructions.
further information, visit www.epa.gov.
You can request literature at www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htm.
a naturally occurring mineral that takes many forms, was used in
many home-related products before it was banned for such use. Some
of these include pipe insulation, siding, roofing, drywall compound,
drywall texturing compounds, ceiling tiles, and flooring adhesives.
It has also turned up in some vermiculite products that came from
considering whether the asbestos in your home is dangerous, you
must consider whether the asbestos-containing material (ACM) is
friable or nonfriable. In other words, is the material crumbling
or fraying and releasing asbestos fibers, or is it intact so the
fibers are prevented from being released into the air? In general,
intact, nonfriable ACM is not a hazard—until you tear into it to
remove it. For this reason, it is best to simply leave intact ACM
alone or cover over it (without disturbing the ACM) or hire a licensed
abatement contractor to remove it.
is a lot of asbestos information available on the web. A good site
to start with is www.epa.gov/oppt/asbestos/.
Home & Environment Index