The Flint water crisis of 2014-2019 (and that will continue for decades to come) exposed 6,000-12,000 children to drinking water with high levels of lead, and reintroduced the dangers of lead back into the public consciousness. The settlement reached on January 20, 2021 of $641 million dollars reminded us of the economic impact.
At lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms, lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injury across multiple body systems. In particular lead can affect children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity, and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible. ~ World Health Organization
With such horrifying effects, it is no wonder why the FHA / USDA and VA will not underwrite a loan unless Lead Based paint is properly treated. Today we will tackle some in-home investigating and treatments that you can perform to keep your family safe:
Investigating Lead Paint - excerpts taken from House Logic
The EPA has recognized the following in-home tests for discovering if your home has lead paint present:
For wood and metal surfaces: https://leadpaintepasupplies.com/lead-test-kits/
For wood, metal, drywall and plaster surfaces: https://www.esca-tech.com/ProductDetail.php?category=2700&productnum=LPTK
These tests work in a similar fashion, in which a swab of the surface is taken and a chemical reaction takes place in the presence of lead in order to reveal a color indicator.
Please note: While these tests may give you peace of mind, they will not suffice to exclude your home from needing larger remediation in the case of FHA/USDA/VA financing for a loan. The level of testing that would be required by federal guidelines is usually far higher than the cost to encapsulate any supposed lead paint.