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What Are The Dangers Of Lead Paint

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  • 19-07-2022
What Are The Dangers Of Lead Paint

This article answers the question: what are the dangers of lead paint? We look at where you might find lead paint in older buildings and what's involved in an inspection for lead paint.

Lead Paint in Older Homes and Buildings.

Lead was used as a pigment in paint and drying agent for brick and tile paint before 1992. To prevent further health conditions resulting from exposure, the UK government banned lead-based paints from sale and general use in 1992. You could be living in a lead-painted home if it was built before this date. There are methods to reduce the exposure to you and any people within your household.

You should start by first inspecting all painted surfaces, clean dust painted surfaces frequently with a wet cloth or paper towel, and wipe and remove shoes before entering a home. If you consult a lead-safe certified contractor for any repairing, renovating, or painting projects, precautions will be taken to ensure any toxic lead is avoided.

You should inquire about your water utilities to your local council. If your pipes are made from lead or your pipes are attached with lead solder, it is most likely that you are drinking lead-contaminated water. Directly drinking lead particles lets the element have immediate access to your body once you drink, which can cause you equally immediate symptoms. You can get information about your drinking water quality by checking the UK's Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) website.

What’s the Problem With Lead-Based Paint?

Lead can be found throughout a home in dust, paint, and soil. If not properly maintained, you may suffer from lead poisoning.

If your home has lead paint that is in good condition; the surface is not broken, then there is no problem. However, as soon as the surface begins to deteriorate or is chewed by children, it is extremely dangerous.

When toxic lead begins to chip, crack, deteriorate, flake, or peel, you must take extreme care around it as it can lead to equally toxic dust. When this happens, particles of lead are released into the air, which can easily be inhaled by adults and children and result in health problems.

If a child were to inhale or gnaw on such surfaces as bannisters, countertops, doors, door frames, porches, railings, stairs, windows, or windowsills containing lead-based paint, they can contract lead poisoning.

What Are The Dangers Of Lead Paint?

Symptoms of Lead poisoning.

There are no levels of exposure to lead that are without harmful effects. Symptoms vary from person to person; however, these symptoms depend on how long people have been exposed to lead and how much lead they have been exposed to.

Short-term exposure to lead

People that have been exposed to lead in a short time are still sufferers of lead poisoning.

They may experience abdominal pain, anaemia, brain damage, constipation, exhaustion, headaches, hearing problems, irritable behaviour, infertility for both men and women, insomnia, kidney damage, loss of appetite, memory loss, pain, tingling in hands or feet, vision loss, and weakness.

Prolonged exposure to lead

If a person has been exposed to lead in their home or at work, they may experience further abdominal pain, constipation, forgetfulness, and irritable behaviour. Additionally, they may start to feel depressed, distracted, sick, or nauseous.

Prolonged exposure increases people's risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases, hypertension, kidney diseases, and reproductive problems. Children with high levels of lead poisoning can develop bone marrow issues, hyperactivity, hearing problems, nerve damage, and slowed growth. In serious cases, lead has attacked the central nervous system and brain, leading to comas, convulsions, and even fatalities.

Is Lead Poisoning  a Problem for Small Children?

Lead poisoning affects adults and children alike. As mentioned in the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning section, both short-term and long-term symptoms can cause the exposed person permanent damage to their body and mind.

Children under 6 years of age are more likely to be affected as they tend to put a lot of things in their mouths.

Their sensitive brains and nervous systems are more susceptible to the damaging effects of lead than the average adult. For example, if your child ingests or inhales the flakes from a deteriorated lead surface, their behaviour and intelligence could be affected.

You must also take care when purchasing cheap toys and jewellery from vending machines and discount stores, as lead is one of the materials used to mass-produce such products

Pregnant women are also at similar levels of risk as children, as the element can cross the placental wall and affect unborn children.

The hazard of lead to pregnant women has, in some cases, resulted in damaging a developing baby's nervous system, miscarriages, and stillbirths.

IS LEAD POISONING A PROBLEM FOR SMALL CHILDREN?

How To Know If Your House Contains Lead Paint.

To see whether a surface or small area contains lead-based paints, there are testing kits that can produce results within minutes. It would be worth hiring a surveying company that specialises in lead testing for a professional examination on bigger areas or your whole property.

Your house likely contains internal or external lead paint if it is an old property. The correct approach would be to get a professional inspection done by a specialist.We recommend that you look in the below section for information on how to professionally check if your house contains lead paint.

What's Involved in an Inspection for Lead Paint?

Depending on your reason for testing your property, there are three methods of determining the presence of lead paint in your home. You may decide to use two or all three of these methods to have a comprehensive understanding of your property and any health threats it may pose.

Lead-based paint inspection

A lead-based paint inspection is a fast method to classify painted surfaces as harmful or not. This is the perfect inspection for renovations when you want to paint or remove paint. The method identifies whether any internal or external surfaces compromise lead-based paints, even those covered by wallpaper.

Samples of deteriorated paint can be tested on-site using specialist equipment called Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). It works by measuring levels of lead in paint samples without doing any damage to the paint itself.

Alternatively, if results from an on-site test are not conclusive, more samples are removed and sent to the laboratory for analysis. After a paint inspection, a report will be produced, identifying if and which surfaces contain lead. The report will not indicate whether the condition of the lead paint poses a health risk.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment tests deteriorated paint inside or outside your home, the soil in outdoor play areas and around your property's foundation, and household dust. It evaluates the extent and cause of deterioration by using a wet wipe to take dust samples from floors and windows and then send them to a lab for analysis.

The resulting report, if positive, presents the homeowner with where the lead in your house is and how to deal with them in the safest possible way. A negative report does not necessarily mean that there is no lead in your home; it means that not all surfaces are tested. 

A negative report does not necessarily mean that there is no lead present in your home. It does tell you that there still could be lead in the surfaces that a risk assessment may not have tested. For example, painted surfaces in good condition are ignored as this indicates that it is not releasing any lead particles. 

Hazard screens

A hazard screening identifies the probability of a lead risk. If there are, in fact, any risks in your home, the report will recommend having a risk assessment completed. This method is better suited for properties that have a low risk of lead. Hazard screens are usually cheaper than risk assessments because they are not as extensive as the latter.

An assessor inspects the areas of deterioration and collected two samples of dust. One sample is taken from a floor, the other from a window. Unless there are any paint chips in the soil, the assessor will not collect any soil samples.


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