posted on Mar, 2 2004 @ 09:59 PM
First a little history. The U.S. was one of the last countries to ban the use of LBP for residential use. The reason for that is simple. Lead
mining was a big business.
The use of LBP in residential structures was officially banned in 1978, but the truth is, many paint manufacturers had started to phase out the use of
LBP a long time before that. One of the principle reasons was the growing use of latex over oil based paints. The other main reason was that the
health effects of lead were well known even then.
LBP was an expensive paint back in the day when it was used, so it tended to be used sparingly and for certain applications where it was well suited.
Windows, doors, bathrooms, kitchens (areas with high moisture issues) and on metal items.
Contrary to popular belief, The greatest health risk from LBP is not from paint chips it is from the dust. Although paint chips are a clear sign
that the paint is starting to fail and delaminate from the substrate. If you have paint chips you will have very high and dangerous lead levels as
dust. However, lead dust can be present even when the paint is relatively intact.
The greatest hazard for most children is dust that is generated by friction and wear of the painted surfaces. Window wells and sills collect this
dust. Kids love to play in window wells.
Dust levels in window wells where the windows are painted with LBP can be over a thousand ug/ft2
Dust levels as low as 50 ug/ft2 have been linked to elevated blood levels (EBL) in children. EBLs have been definitely linked to learning
disabilities in children.
One of the biggest hazards for generating dust is home renovation. Most DIYers and far too many contractors are unaware or are unable to follow
proper procedures and as a result wind up contaminating the entire house.
And lastly, yes, excessive lead poisoning can kill you, but the damage to children can happen at levels far below the life-threatening threshold.
If you are concerned about this, a few inexpensive wipe tests can be made to determine the lead levels in your home. The best source for additional
information is your local health department.
[Edited on 3-3-2004 by HowardRoark]