The Hazards of Lead Paint

But what are the hazards of lead paint anyway? Let’s discuss the potential dangers of lead paint found inside or outside a building, and what certified interior and exterior painting services can do to mitigate or eliminate this risk.

What to Know About Lead Paint's Hazards

The Hazards of Lead Paint

Lead is a metal that is toxic to humans when ingested. People of all ages can be harmed by lead poisoning, but children (6 and under) tend to be more susceptible to the negative health effects of lead paint than adults. For one thing, young children are naturally curious, meaning they are more likely to touch, taste, and consume lead paint dust in significant amounts if it is located in their immediate environment. Not only that, but children are more vulnerable to the various forms of damage caused by lead paint because their bodies are growing, and they absorb more lead than adults, too. Unborn babies can also be affected by lead paint if it is present in the mother’s system.

In children, the specific forms of damage caused by lead paint ingestion include (but are not limited to):

  • Brain and nervous system damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Stunted growth
  • Headaches
  • Bone marrow issues
  • Behavioral/learning issues
  • Hearing problems

As for adults, lead-paint exposure/ingestion can lead to or exacerbate:

  • Infertility
  • Nerve damage and disorder
  • Anemia
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss/concentration issues
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of vision/hearing

Preventing these various devastating health effects largely relies on properly handling, controlling, and/or getting rid of all traces of lead paint inside and outside a property.

What to Do About a Lead Paint Problem

Today, construction, repair, and commercial/house painting professionals must take the history of lead paint into account when working on pre-1978 buildings. Generally speaking, lead paint doesn’t pose much of a threat if it is stable (not peeling, chipping, flaking, etc.). But once lead paint starts to deteriorate, it releases toxic dust into the environment, which may be ingested by those nearby and lead to the health problems outlined above.

This is why working on or around lead paint is such a delicate process and must be performed by lead-based residential or commercial painting services -- scraping away old lead-based paint naturally releases lead dust into the air. The four primary methods for reducing the risk of lead paint exposure are removal, encapsulation, enclosure, and replacement.

Lead Paint Removal

To properly remove lead paint, contractors may dampen the surface to reduce dust output and scrape it away with a wire brush. Or, they might use a power sander to remove the lead paint while sucking up the particles with a particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum.

Lead Paint Encapsulation

In some cases, the best course of action to mitigate a lead paint hazard is to encapsulate the lead paint rather than remove it. During this process, lead-based certified interior painting services will seal the lead paint underneath a watertight bonding.

Lead Paint Enclosure

Contractors may also enclose the lead-painted surface by installing drywall or some type of cladding over it. These processes, while effective, do not offer a permanent solution, however. 

Lead Paint Replacement

The most permanent solution to eliminating a lead paint hazard, of course, is completely removing and safely disposing of all surfaces that contain lead paint. This process is called “replacement.”

Getting the Lead Out of Your Property

Unfortunately, the presence of lead paint is not yet a thing of the past. Whether you own or manage a commercial or residential property, it is crucial to properly handle any instances of lead paint to keep everyone safe and healthy and to comply with various federal, state, and local regulations. Fortunately, the experts at Endure Painting can help you do just that. For more information regarding our skills and services, call us at (510) 458-2120 or send us an email at

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