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Lead-based Paint

DEFINITION

Paint that contains toxic metal that affects the health of people who reside or work at the property the lead based paint is located. The paint can cause physical damages, particularly to younger, developing individuals, and the elderly.

EXPLANATION

Lead-based paint is a type of paint that contains the ingredient lead. The purpose of having lead in the paint is to speed up the drying process, make the paint better stick to the surface of the building thereby increasing the lifetime of the paint, and to prevent the paint from retaining moisture. All of these factors are meant to prevent the paint from reducing in quality or appearance. Due to health concerns, the United State’s has banned lead from being added to paint. Prior to 1978 almost all building paint contained lead.

Why Lead-based Paint is Dangerous

Lead is a toxic metal that if ingested, breathed in, or consumed can cause major health issues including damaged to vital organs. When ingested or breathed in heavy concentrations can impair someone’s brain, blood, kidneys, and others. Common symptoms include trouble breathing, headaches, spazzing, and others. Children are especially susceptible to symptoms of lead-based paint, both because of their relatively small size compared to adults and because of children’s tendencies to touch and feel walls and play around.

One of the main dangers of lead-based paint is when it chips or disintegrates it becomes part of the dust in the air and falls on the floor. For young children this can be cause for great concern as it is common for children to play around on the floor and touch things and even sometimes ingest small items they see on the floor.

History of Lead-based Paint

Homes built prior to 1978 almost always have lead-based paint. This was the year the government banned lead in paints. Even if the home was repainted, old remnants of the lead-based paint typically remain, unless the property owner sanded down the old paint, which is rare. If the old lead-based paint is in good condition then there may not be an issue, however there are many instances when the issues will remain.

Lead is oftentimes most dangerous on or near windows, stairs, doors, and porches because these are items which are commonly touched and therefore susceptible to chipping due to continuing contact. It is also common for lead-based paint to be dangerous after it has already chipped away because it gives easy access to dogs and small children to touch, smell, and play with.

Property owners that have rental property have the responsibility to repair and/or replace chipping paint. Rental property owners owe an increased duty to inspect property because it unreasonable to expect a tenant to understand lead-based risks. In other words, under the law a rental property owner is expected to better understand real estate and real estate inspections than a tenant. Any tenants that discover lead-based paint chipping should contact the landlord to have it inspected.

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