When Does Lead Paint Become a Danger to Those Who Encounter It?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Lead Paint Poisoning Published on August 12, 2022 and updated on August 29, 2022.

checking wall for lead paintPeople know lead paint is dangerous, but they may not know the main risk factors for exposure. For example, like asbestos, lead paint becomes dangerous when it is disturbed. If lead paint gets disturbed, it can chip away, creating dust that people could ingest. This could lead to lead poisoning, particularly in children, as they have a much higher risk for suffering health problems from lead exposure.

Below, we discuss the dangers of peeling lead paint for adults. We also discuss containing the lead paint to help prevent exposure to it while waiting for the hazard to be safely removed from the home. There may even be times you can paint over lead paint and be safe, as certain types of paint can lock in the lead paint.

While there is no safe amount of lead exposure, people typically suffer severe health consequences after prolonged exposure. If you have recently discovered lead paint in your home, you or your loved ones may have been exposed. You may develop serious health problems as a result.

Victims of lead paint exposure may have legal options, but this situation should be discussed with a licensed attorney. The Maryland lead paint poisoning attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have extensive knowledge of seeking compensation for lead poisoning victims.

Why Does Lead Paint Peel?

Paint can wear down over time, especially because of various kinds of friction or rubbing. For example, lead paint on doors, windows, stairways or cabinets could easily wear down and begin to peel away. When peeling happens, lead dust could be released into the air.

While many types of paint may chip or peel, it is much more common with lead-based paint. Lead paint often undergoes a process called “alligatoring,” which happens when the paint wrinkles, cracks and starts to look scaly. This is a common sign that the paint contains lead.

Another sign of lead paint is if the paint becomes chalky when it gets rubbed off a surface. However, you should not scrape or rub lead paint as this could release dust that you could breathe in. There is no safe level of exposure to lead, and the health consequences from lead exposure can be severe.

It is also important to note that lead dust could be present even if you have not seen paint peeling or chipping away. If the paint gets disturbed, lead dust could have been released into the air.

Determining if You Have Lead Paint in Your Home

If you live in a home that was built before 1978, there is a good chance it may contain lead paint. This is particularly true if your home was built before 1960 or before 1940.

If you are concerned there may be lead paint in your home, you should have it tested to confirm your suspicions. This is especially important if you plan on doing any renovations. You do not want to start a project and disturb lead paint, which could cause you or someone else who lives in your home to ingest it. Sanding, torching or grinding a surface with lead paint will likely release lead dust into the air.

You can hire a certified lead inspector to investigate and determine if your home contains lead paint.

What Should You Do About Peeling Lead Paint?

It may be possible to continue living in a home that contains lead paint. Depending on the condition of the lead paint, you may be able to simply paint over it to contain it behind a physical barrier. You could use certain types of paint or primer to lock in the lead paint. However, you need to be careful about painting over the surface because you do not want to knock paint loose.

It is best to hire a professional painter who has been lead-safe certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you do it yourself you risk missing a step and not fully containing the lead-based paint.

However, sometimes containing lead paint is not the right choice. Sometimes you need to get the lead paint out of your house. This way you can prevent future exposure to lead paint in your home.

However, you should only allow professionals to remove lead paint. Professionals who have been certified in lead paint removal can ensure all of it gets removed and the dust is contained during this process. You do not want the dust to settle somewhere else in the house where it could potentially be ingested by you or your children. Professionals know the proper steps to take before and after removal of the paint to protect you and your family.

Some of the steps that may need to be taken include:

  • Sealing the area with plastic sheets
  • Disconnecting heating  and cooling ducts to the room
  • Removing furniture, rugs and anything else in the room
  • Using a special vacuum when cleaning up the area to ensure all the dust is collected

You can have licensed professionals assess your situation to determine the best option for dealing with lead paint.

Give Us a Call Today to Discuss Your Claim

Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl today to discuss seeking compensation for damages caused by exposure to lead paint. Our firm has obtained millions on behalf of those who were exposed to lead paint and suffered health effects.

We are prepared to help you seek compensation for your damages at no upfront cost to you. In a free consultation, we can discuss your options and how we may be able to assist you.

Give us a call today to learn more: 410-401-9979.