Get The Lead Out – Lead In Older Homes

October 15, 2015

What was once believed to be true may be a lie.  New evidence shows that lead in older homes is more dangerous than originally thought.

And while lead is (almost) dead in modern homes, it’s still a risk to children and pregnant women in older abodes.

In fact, U.S. home buyers get a warning pamphlet with any home built before 1978 so they can test before closing.

The Silent Epidemic

Called the “silent epidemic” for having no unique symptoms, lead poisoning causes some serious damage:

As many as 90% of North America houses built before the fifties contain lead-based paint.

Dangerous Dust

The biggest risk for children comes from playing around door jambs and window frames.

They get dust on their fingers then put them in their mouth.

Everyone needs to avoid the dust scraped or sanded surfaces in older homes. This is a job for specially-trained lead abatement contractor.

By the way, vacuuming the dust only makes the situation worse.

Toxic Taps

Old homes often have lead water pipes.

Lead leaches into the standing water in the pipes and gets inside our body. (the word plumbing comes from the Latin word plumbum, which means lead).

Toilet and sink drains were also made of lead because the pipes could hand molded.

Lead solder is also used to join older lead pipes to modern copper pipes.

And molten lead could seal big cast iron sewer drain pipes.

New Homes Are Still At Risk

You may think you’re safe in a shiny new home, but many areas get the lead delivered straight to their front yard.

If you think you have high lead levels, buy yourself a filter to remove lead before it reaches the tap.

Most home inspectors point out lead pipes.

Cities charges about $50 for water testing and home inspectors can test for lead paint for about $50.

Now that you know how dangerous lead can be in older homes, be sure to protect yourself from this silent killer.

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Steve Rodriguez

Steve is a Certified Master Inspector® and owner of Bulldog Professional Inspection Services in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of The Ultimate Consumer Guide To Home Inspections and has been a professional home inspector since 2003.

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