Humans have used lead since we started to use metals. With a relatively low melting point for metals along with a high density, it’s been found in everything from stained glass in cathedrals to the pewter plates of kings. It was only in the late 1970s in the US when the health issues surrounding lead was finally recognized, and that lead was banned from toys, cookware, paints, pipes, and more. Today, we’ll be exploring the dangerous impact of lead poisoning, particularly from lead-based paints.
What are the Harmful Effects of Lead?
The human body is able to filter out many types of poisons from the bloodstream, especially chemical and biological toxins. However, once lead makes it into a person’s system by inhaling or consuming, that lead is distributed throughout the system just like other helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. As such, it is at its most dangerous in developing children as this lead can interfere with the absorption of other minerals into the body, leading to deficiencies, including:
- Bone Growth: Lead can interfere with calcium absorption, leading to stunted bone growth and weak bones.
- Muscle Growth: Decreased muscle growth, as well as poor muscle coordination.
- Anemia: Lead can damage blood cells in the body and limit their ability to carry oxygen.
- Systems & Organs: Damage to the nervous system and the kidneys.
- Speech & Hearing: Speech and language problems, and damage to hearing.
- Mental Development: Developmental delay, as well as lower overall IQs.
How Do People Get Lead Poisoning?
The single most common source of lead poisoning is caused to young children from lead-based paint. This paint, which was used in many homes until the late 1970s when the US government banned its manufacture, is usually inhaled or consumed, especially by children with the pica disorder (compulsive eating of non-food items – in this case, paint chips). Older painted walls often crack, shedding paint dust or paint chips with lead in them. Lead pipes and items contaminated with lead are two other main sources.
Dealing with Lead-Based Paints
If you think you’ve got lead-based paints on your walls, it’s important to get them tested. You should keep them and windowsills clear of dust and chips. If you’re going to do any construction, be aware that layers underneath may contain lead-based paints. While in the short-term you can paint or drywall over lead-based paints, it’s important to think about the long term. Fiber Control, Inc. can help you detect and remove lead safety using Lead RRP procedures. We also provide asbestos detection and remediation, a substance often found in homes of the same time period. Contact us today to get started.