We previously explored the scourge of the 21st century home buyer, acoustical, (or popcorn) ceiling texture. The substance that can influence a potential homebuyer for no other reason than it severely dates the home. The truth is that many popcorn ceilings contain asbestos and exposure can lead to lung problems and cancer. Homes of the popcorn ceiling era also may be hiding much more than a bat in the attic, the danger lies in the substance lead. Essentially if you have a home built pre-1980 you are at risk for cancer, lead poisoning and all sorts of other ailments simply because of the materials that we were used back then. Now, in light of that fatalistic view of older homes, removing and/or mitigating the danger is fairly easy, but first, you need to know what you are dealing with. At NOW Environmental Services we are your local consulting and compliance contractor for indoor air quality. We test your home for contaminants such as mold, lead, and asbestos. We are proud to serve the King County area and cherish the opportunity to make the lives of others better.
Lead Through History
Lead is classified as a heavy metal in chemistry and has been utilized for thousands of years due to its ease of manipulation. Lead, being fairly soft, is easy to work with and form, which led to thousands of uses over the centuries. Romans made pipes, the Chinese used it as a contraceptive, and the Europeans used it for stained glass windows. Of course, its uses were much more widespread than this, but being as though it is naturally occurring, it is a metal that was readily available throughout history. Around the dawn of the 20th century, doctors began to look much more critically at what was perceived as lead poisoning, particularly in victims who engaged in trades where lead was prominent. Regardless of the dangers, lead continued to be used into the present day. Items like lead pipes, batteries, bullets and gasoline all contained lead in high concentrations.
The Next Chapter, Lead Paint
During the 1970s, lead was being phased out of pretty much everything due to the destructive effects it has on the human body. Gasoline was one of the testaments to lead’s diverse uses, and it prevented more primitive engines from pre-detonation. Leaded gas was phased out and replaced by more effective engineering and better fuel. Lead pipes are still an issue in many parts of the country and have come to light recently due to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Other than lead pipes, lead paint is a major issue in homes before 1980.
Lead paint has been around for thousands of years and was finally linked to health issues about a hundred years ago. Due to the vibrant colors and durability of the paint it was widely used for painting homes, inside and out. The dangers of lead paint are particularly enhanced in children as lead has a sweet taste which encourages young children to ingest the paint chips and put toys painted with lead paint in their mouths.
Much like asbestos, lead is dangerous when it is introduced into the air. Lead causes massive organ issues and even brain damage. The danger when children are exposed to lead is that it impairs their development and the effects are life long. Lead can accumulate over time and cause compounded damage, particularly if the exposure is unknown.
What Can Be Done?
The issue with lead paint is, rarely older buildings are stripped of existing paint and many times lead paint is hiding underneath newer paint. This can create obvious issues for the homeowner. At NOW Environmental Services we offer comprehensive, lead and asbestos testing and analysis. If you feel like your home is at risk for lead contamination, whether through water, paint or dust, our survey will pinpoint the risk areas and we can recommend the next course of action. All of our lead testing is done by certified lead inspectors to ensure accurate results. We also offer an extremely convenient sample drop off program. Our laboratory analysts can guide you through the sample process, and in many cases your sample can be analyzed within four hours of drop off. Take the steps to keep your family safe; if your home was built before 1978 it is advisable to have a complete lead and asbestos test done on your home. Serving the Puget Sound and Seattle area, we are never more than a phone call away and our telephone consultations are always free. So take advantage of the vast knowledge available and give us a call if you feel you need lead or asbestos testing. At NOW Environmental Services we care about the health and wellbeing of our clients. Take the first step in preventing damage to your health from lead and contact us today.