Dated: 07/09/2018

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LEAD PAINT: Two words that can put fear into a home buyer.  Lets take a look at the facts. 

Lead is a substance known to cause health issues in areas such as the brain and other vital organs, as well as behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and even death.  Young children and pregnant women, in particular, are at risk, but people (and animals) of any age can experience lead-caused health problems.

Lead-based paint (also often called lead paint) contains large amounts of this toxic substance, and unfortunately, many homes have lead-based paint.  The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 87 percent of homes built before 1940 contain lead-based paint, while only 24 percent of homes built between 1960 and 1977 are believed to contain it. In the United States, the federal government banned the use of lead-containing paint in consumer settings in 1978 (some states banned it even earlier), but many, many homes and rental units across the country still contain traces of the paint.

If your home was built after 1978, you are most likely fine. 

Even if your home was built before 1978, you may not be immediately at risk: Just be sure that the paint on your walls is not deteriorating and is in good shape. Household dust can contain lead from the paint on the walls, but if you are diligent about dusting and vacuuming (and maintaining the paint in high-traffic areas such as windows and window sills, doors and door frames, and stairs), the lead-based paint should not be a problem.

“You do not have to treat it for lead-based paint if you’re not going to disturb the surface,” says Brent Kenney, the owner of  Kenney Painting in Simi Valley, California.  Children are more susceptible to the dangers of lead based pain because they touch the surfaces then put their hands directly in their mouths.   If you want to remain completely safe and you have children in your home, you may want to treat any lead-covered surfaces.  

Lead-based paint is most dangerous when it is deteriorating—peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, etc. And if you plan to disturb the paint at all, perhaps for a big renovation, a repair, or simply a new coat of paint, you need to take extreme caution, as these activities can create toxic lead dust.

“If you’re going to disturb the surface of any lead-based product, then of course you have to treat it for lead,” says Kenney.. “If you’re going to create dust or are scraping ceilings or walls that will become airborne, then the concern is that you would breathe it in.”

"To avoid contact with toxic lead dust, painters must wear filtered masks, specialized suits, and gloves", Kenney says.  They also must seal the area being worked on (if it is not a whole-house renovation) off, so the dust doesn’t spread to other rooms, and properly dispose of any materials.  

If lead paint is present, contractors are legally obligated to follow these steps and other lead-safe work practices.  It sounds like scary stuff, but as the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Being aware of the presence of lead paint allows you to take appropriate actions, whether you’re planning a home update or not and also when purchasing a home with us at Thiel Real Estate & Property Management.

You can hire an inspector to check your home for lead hazards; tests can check a particular area or every surface in a home. If you are considering buying a home, it may be smart to include a lead paint test in the inspection. Sellers are required to disclose the presence of lead paint  if they are aware that there is lead paint in their home.

If you already own a home and know (or suspect) it was built before 1978, and you’re taking bids from contractors for a home renovation, you should ask them about lead paint tests. Not all contractors are certified to deal with lead paint, and some may not think to ask if a house was built after 1978. Dealing with lead-based paint appropriately makes jobs more difficult and costly.  “Don’t let someone paint your house who doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Kenney says. “They’re going to get fined.”

It may be tempting to take care of lead paint in your home yourself, but that can also be dangerous.  At Thiel Real Estate & Property Management we ALWAYS encourage our clients to hire professionals for any type of abatement of toxic chemicals.  

As with anything, you need to do your research if your home tests positive for lead paint.  You can address the issue by repairing damaged surfaces and repainting them with lead-free paint (ideally by hiring a certified contractor). This is a temporary solution, though, that lasts only as long as the new coat of paint is in good repair. A permanent solution is through abatement, a costly and long process that permanently eliminates lead-based paint hazards. Abatement can be ordered by a state or local government (if a child gets lead poisoning, for example) or be voluntary.

For further information and more details about federal government  rule, check out the EPA's website.

As always, we want your home safe for you and your loved ones and are always there to help you find a professional to help solve your problems.  Give us a call at 877-805-7348!

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Michael - Colette Thiel

Michael Thiel, CalBRE#01893556 Colette Thiel, CalBRE#01455972 ....

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