We hear a lot about lead. We hear that it is bad for us and if we purchase a home that was built prior to a certain year, then it should be tested. We understand that it comes from paint and old style pipes, but do you really know what happens if you are exposed to it? Do you know why you may need to find out if there is lead near you? If you are like most, you probably have no idea why it is such an important test. So, many of us consider having it tested without fully understanding it. Do you need the services of a lead testing company?

Why Testing Matters

Lead is a natural element that has some beneficial uses, but it can be harmful if you are exposed to too much of it. It is in the air, the soil, water that we drink, and inside of most homes. At one time, gasoline was leaded, as was plumbing material, batteries, cosmetics, and paints. If you live where mining or smelting used to take place, your soil could have higher levels of lead. This poses a lot of health risks for you, your family, and your pets, because all the lead you are exposed to can build up in your body.

Health Risks of Lead

The health risks of lead exposure will vary from person to person. Kids may grow slower, have anemia, hearing problems and a lower IQ, which could also lead to behavior and learning issues. Women who are pregnant may have a baby born prematurely or very small. Older adults could have more risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and even reproductive issues that could prevent them from being able to create a baby or have a normal pregnancy.

Should You Test for Lead?

There are certain things that you can do to lessen your family’s risk of too much lead buildup. Water damage should be repaired quickly, use cold water for food or drink preparations, clean out faucets often, encourage kids to wash their hands after playing in the dirt, and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. However, even if you do these things, it may still be a good choice to have your home tested especially if it is older, has a lot of water damages, or has old, peeling and chipped paint. There are kits that you can purchase and then you can send the test in to a lead testing company to save you from having to worry.

When remodeling an older home, you should know that approximately 75% of homes built before 1978 have lead based paints in them. At the time, it was not something that was considered harmful, so many people relied on the paint that was available. Now, we know that lead can cause a large variety of health issues for people of all ages; especially children who are under the age of six. Therefore, it is important that you find someone who can be reliable in their testing.

Where Should Be Tested?

Lead paint can be on the exterior or interior of a home. It was a very durable paint that could stead up to direct sunlight and even harsh weather. The downside of this is that when removing paint with lead in it, carpeting and soil can absorb it and dust will flow freely while you are scraping away at the paint. If you know that someone else began remodeling, or you have worked on the house in the past, you should test all areas of the home, both inside and out, to ensure the lead is within a healthy range. There are some people who say that home testing kits are unreliable and this does mean that you may be better off to hire someone to test for you.

Lead Testing Companies

There are a lot of companies that test for lead. In some areas, they have to be state certified to test for it. You should find someone in your area who has proof that they know what to look for and how to get rid of it effectively if it is found. You may also want to ask them what they use in testing, especially since home kits may be unreliable. One way to test without damaging surface areas is to use X-ray fluorescence. This is a portable device that can scan the painted surface and see all layers of paint. It can also highlight where there is lead to figure out how much may be present. Another way that is used to test for it includes taking paint samples from each of the walls in your home that may contain lead. This does damage the paint that is on the wall and perhaps even the wall.
The testing company may also look for lead in dust, water, and soil by taking various samples to see what is hidden inside. It may seem annoying to have to deal with, but considering how much lead can damage a person’s body; most homeowners feel that it is necessary.

Lead is a common problem in homes that were built before 1978. As proof of it, it is also ranked as the number one environmental health risk for kids. It is something that pediatricians test for early in life and continue to do so until they are at least six years old. The scary part is, lead has already affected more than three million kids in the US. There are other countries that are also high in lead poisoning because virtually every country has used lead in both industry and consumer products. Therefore, if there is any chance that your home could be infected, it is important that you get it tested. There is a good chance that you will live healthier after hiring a lead testing company.

Why Lead Is a Major Concern for Kids

It has been proven that children who are exposed to even low levels of lead, tend to have issues both physically and developmentally. Children at most at risk of too much lead exposure when they are under six and this exposure can cause them to have learning disabilities, behavior issues, and growth problems. As a child grows, after exposure to lead, they continue to suffer setbacks, and there are kids who are exposed before they are even born. Pregnant women who have a high level of lead in their system can pass on issues to their child and then have a child that is born underweight or premature.

How to Avoid Lead Poisoning

The biggest thing you can do to protect your family from lead is to have your home tested if it was built before 1978. At any time before that, we relied heavily on lead in lead pipes, brass faucets, copper pipes, and of course; paint. If you are doing home renovations, you will definitely want to have everything tested because one of the main reasons kids get overexposed to lead is the dust that it produces. Kids get dust on their hands and put their hands in their mouth or on food, which then goes into their mouth. It is invisible, so you will not be able to protect them at all times. A lead testing company can help you find the source of the lead and to get rid of it quickly. Isn’t your family’s health worth it?