Testing for lead paint is something more than simply a suggestion that you should follow. It is such an important item that there are even laws that state you must notify new home owners of any plead based paint in the home. Simply put, the reason for this is that lead paint is such a poisonous commodity that it can easily lead to harmful effects on you and your family. Make sure that you know the basics of testing for lead paint by keeping these guidelines in mind.
- Why you should test. In the simplest possible terms, you should test because it can help prevent injuries, illnesses, and in severe cases death. Some symptoms of lead exposure are excessive headaches, brain damage and damage to your nervous system, painful joints, digestive problems, and more. There really isn't enough that can be said about the importance of testing for lead paint, and in fact entire books, magazines, television shows, and even Federal laws have been written and created about the devastating effects that this stuff will have on the environment and people around it. Just remember that even though the paint may be dry and on the wall, that is no guarantee that it won't affect you. For example, it could flake off, or emit fumes and vapors, that can be inhaled or consumed in some way and cause the damage to happen.
- Know when to test. While there may be some local laws that went into effect first, Federal Laws that were first passed in 1978 banned the use of lead based paint in residential structures. This means that if your home was built in or before the year 1978 then you should get a test for lead paint done.
- Types of testing. There are basically three types of testing that can be done to see if you have any lead based paint. The first is called a Lead-based Paint Inspection. This is probably one of the most common of the tests, since it is the least intrusive and will indicate if there are any problems you should be aware of. This inspection will look at, and assess, every painted surface that you have in your home to determine whether you have any problems. Typically small sections of each surface are taken for testing. A Lead Paint Risk Assessment is the next type of test, and is much more detailed in its report. It will include details like the type of paint, the risk of the paint, as well as the amount of lead you may be faced with. The third type of test, called a Lead Hazard Screen, is the third type of test, and is somewhere in the middle of the other two. Simply put, this test will usually focus only on areas that appear damaged, or in some other way look like they are potentially dangerous.
- What to do. If your test results come back positive, you will need to hire a professional to come in and do a controlled removal of the contaminated materials. This is not something that you want to do yourself, and it is not something that you can do yourself according to law.
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