It has been three decades since lead paint was banned for residential use. However, that does not mean the hazard to your family is gone. You probably think of kids being poisoned by lead by eating paint chips, but often it is actually dust containing lead, caused by renovation in an old home, that can poison young children.
Tamara Rubin is like most moms, she puts her family first. The Rubin's wanted the perfect home for their growing family. She knew her historic home had lead paint, so she carefully chose a painter. Tamara says, "He told us he was certified to safely handle lead paint. He told us that we could stay in our home while we were having the work done because he was working on the exterior and he would use proper containment methods." She says that safe procedures were not followed, and poison dust made its way inside.
Tamara adds, "There was a microscopic, invisible layer of lead dust all over our home as a result of the work he did". That is when Tamara says her nightmare began, "My children got sick right after the work was done. They started vomiting and having headaches." Two of her children were tested and horrific news followed. "We got a call in the middle of the night saying, 'You have to move out of your home. Your child has lead poisoning."
Tamara's story is far from unique. Rebecca Morley of the National Center for Healthy Housing says, "There are about 250,000 children that suffer from lead poisoning right now. People are not getting information about how insidious this threat might be for their family...lead is a really big problem. I think people misperceived that it's a problem of the past, because lead based paint was banned back in 1978, but actually, 38 million homes in the United States have lead based paint." Rebecca Morley says all parents need to beware, "Often time's people think it's just paint chips that poison kids. But in fact, it's the very fine invisible dust that's generated from deteriorated lead based paint. The dust can coat their toys, it can get on their hands, and then they put them in their mouth."
Generally, adults are not affected. The real is risk is young children who ingest the dust often resulting from renovations on old homes. As for as Tamara Rubin, their home was repaired to be lead safe and her family now lives in another home. Now, three years later, she fears that two of her children have permanent brain damage. She is resolved to get the word out to other parents.
So, if you live in an old home and have kids under the age of six, have your house inspected for lead before doing any renovations. When you are having work done, make sure the paint stays intact, and that you have cleaned up all the dust before children are allowed nearby.