In 1978, despite great protests from the industry and many consumers, the United States Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of lead as a pigment or additive in residential paint. Lead is an incredibly cheap, stable, and effective pigment, and it helped produce beautiful paints – but by 1978 doctors and scientists had established a definite connection between airborne or ingested lead particles and a wide range of subtle, but debilitating, health problems.
Lead is simply a natural metal, but it is one that the human body is unable to process. It exists in nature, but only in the form of big rocks in the ground that nobody could possibly eat or inhale. When it is ground up and added to paint (or other household supplies, from which it has also been banned), problems start to occur. As long as the paint remains strong and stuck to the wall, nobody is in any danger – but when it gets old and starts to flake and chip, or when it is disturbed through renovation, particles of lead enter the air and flakes of lead-infused paint land on the ground where children and pets can eat them. When it is inhaled or ingested, lead will be absorbed into the body – but the body doesn’t know what to do with it. So it just sits there, clogging up cells and interfering with their vital functions. Depending on how the body absorbs and stores the lead, this can result in problems ranging from fatigue and memory loss to seizures, vomiting, numbness, and infertility. “Lead poisoning”, as its called, is difficult to identify because its symptoms are so diverse. The best thing to do if you are worried is to simply go and get your blood lead tested.
As mentioned above, one of the riskiest times for lead exposure is during renovation of any kind – including repainting. This is because renovation disturbs the sedentary lead, causing it to enter the air or enter the environment in small enough particles to be ingested. For this reason, the EPA created standard procedures for identifying and containing lead during remodeling. Since lead was such a popular paint component prior to its ban in 1978, EPA lead safety procedures are required for renovating all homes built prior to 1978, and all contractors working on residential remodeling projects are required to be EPA Lead Safety Certified. As a Certified Lead-Safe contractor, Blue Door Painters takes our role in protecting public health very seriously. All of our workers are trained in EPA lead-safe procedures, and we are fully prepared to both educate and protect you during every step of your project. You can rest assured, you are safe in our hands.