Lead has become an issue that has to be addressed. We at Community Action Program have the tools and staff to help you in your needs to identify lead. We have some of the best equipment in immediately identifying and measuring lead content. We have two licensed inspectors and assessors that have completed many hours of training and on-going use of the equipment.

With our XRF gun, we can immediately identify lead content in surface to surface checks. Lead dust wipe and soil samples are evaluated by a certified laboratory in Indianapolis.

We provide testing for Remodelers, Homebuyers, Mortgage holders, Landlords, State and Local Health Departments, Housing Authorities, and Realtors.

If you think lead is present, or just need to test, please give us a call for a quote. Contact Steve Talbert at (765) 793-4881.

WHAT IS LEAD?

Lead is a naturally occurring heavy, soft, bluish metal which, in its natural state, poses little risk to humans. Once lead is mined, processed, and introduced into the human environment, it becomes a potentially dangerous medical problem. The single most prevalent risk hazard is the lead dust residue found in residential paint. Although the use of lead additives in paint was banned in 1978, it is estimated that millions of housing units contain at least some levels of lead based paint.

HOW IS LEAD TRANSMITTED TO HUMANS?

Lead enters the body primarily through ingestion and, to a lesser extent, inhalation of dust. Small children and infants are at greatest risk due to lead dust on floors and windowsills in the home. They unwittingly ingest lead dust through normal hand-mouth activity while crawling and playing. Children chewing on painted surfaces can also ingest lead. Pregnant women can transmit lead poisoning to their fetus because the 1 micron lead molecules pass through the protective placenta often causing permanent physical and mental damage.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF LEAD?

Once in the body, lead is distributed via the bloodstream to red blood cells, soft tissues, and bone. Lead can cause serious damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the kidneys. It is a poison that bonds with the chemicals that aid biological reactions throughout the body interfering with the synthesis of many body chemicals. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause retardation, convulsions, coma, and in extreme cases, death. Even low levels of lead are known to slow a child’s normal development and cause learning and behavioral problems. Lead poisoning is now believed to be linked with juvenile delinquency and subsequent adult criminal behavior.

HOW CAN LEAD BE IDENTIFIED?

Lead in paint can be identified by either submitting paint chip samples to a laboratory or by the use of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis. The XRF is a radioactive element powered, portable x-ray machine that can detect the presence of and measure the concentration of lead in paint and paint dust.

Lead poisoning can only be identified by a blood test. The blood lead level (BLL) is expressed in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (ug/dl). Although the current medical intervention BLL is 10ug/dl, any presence of lead in blood is cause for serious concern.

HOW CAN THE RISK OF EXPOSURE BE REDUCED?

Interior building components “shed” lead paint dust as a result of friction and/or impact to painted surfaces. Exposure to lead dust can be reduced by using “wet” methods of cleaning and paint repair. Damp mopping of floors and windowsills are recommended. Vacuuming with anything other than a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum is not recommended, as this will spread the lead dust particles throughout the house.

Peeling, flaking paint should never be dry sanded, scraped, or removed by open flame burning as the OSHA, EPA, and HUD strictly forbid these methods.

Proper preparation and repainting, enclosure, or encapsulation can reduce lead painted surface exposure. These methods are referred to as “interim controls” and are temporary remedies as the lead paint is simply covered but is still present in the home. Using proper procedures combined with basic construction rehabilitation experience, a homeowner can use these methods and reduce the exposure to dust hazards.

The other method is the physical removal and replacement of lead painted components. This method is called “abatement” and is the only permanent solution to the problem. It is more expensive, requires a higher degree of workman skills, and often is best left to a licensed abatement contractor.

If you have questions or concerns about the presence of lead based paint in your home or place of business, contact Steve Talbert (Stalbert@capwi.org) or call (765) 793-4881 Mon-Fri. 8:00-4:30.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (Toy recalls)

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

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