Lead Based Paint, EPA and HUD (Housing Urban Development) regulations.
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What is Lead Paint?
Lead is a heavy metal that was used in paints to help with pigment or color, durability, resistance to moisture as a barrier and to help in speeding up the paints drying process. Prior to 1978 paint was used extensively on all structures inside and out. Lead addition to paint was banned in 1978 however inventories continued to be used many years after the ban.
How was Lead Paint used?
Lead paint was used in a wide variety of applications for all structures. Lead by itself was used in solder for water piping, window and trim paints such as doors and trim work both interior and exterior. Prior to the 1950's lead in paint was typically at a higher concentration level. Lead paint continued to be used until the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead in paint in 1977. However inventories that contained lead in paint continued to be used well after.
Is Lead Paint dangerous?
Lead is a dangerous metal for both children and adults. For a child it is worse due to the child's development. Many affects of stunted growth, mental difficulties and organ development of a child can be seen in a child who has been exposed to lead. Common exposure for children is due to paint dust and chips. When paint becomes brittle or damaged either over time or a construction project, renovation due to decorating or possibly due to larger scale operations such as a room addition or expansion. Lead paint that is abraded, cut or damaged comes into contact with everyone that interacts with it and may simply be unaware of the contamination because there is no odor or taste. Lead can be found in soils due to former renovation projects possibly done to the property prior to your arrival. Possible upgrades to the property such as new windows and doors and certainly any paint work either inside or outside the home may have contributed to lead exposure within the home.
I may have Lead Paint what do I do?
Lead paint should never be damaged or allowed to be damaged. In time, lead paint will simply fail due to exposures to the elements or due to mishandling and wear and tear on the property. Before a decision is made to remove lead paint a consultant can be retained to have the property examined for lead paint detection. Any contractor/vendor that is offering a service that will impact painted surfaces should be aware of the hazards associated with lead paint. Always ask for your contractors verification of lead awareness training or possibly their RRP certification, (Renovation, Repair and Painting).
Will my insurance pay for my Lead Paint problem?
This question is best suited to your agent. However, it is reasonable to assume that if a property qualifies for insurance coverage then so too should the issue of Lead Paint awareness such as actual testing of the materials and their abatement.
How can I find a fair and professional remediation contractor?
There are many service providers in the Southern California area that offer services to abate Lead Paint. If your event is large and extensive such as a flood or a fire the first likely people you will call is your insurance company and many insurance agents and claims adjusters know of professional service providers. However, any project that will damage a property should have a lead clearance test performed. Keep in mind that either the soil of the property or possibly the interior of the property can and will be contaminated by lead if proper methods are not used to ensure adequate clean up procedures. Never assume that a contractor has cleaned up properly a post clearance test for lead is a good decision to make.
If I had Lead Paint remediated how do I know they did a good job?
If you think that there could be lead contamination within the property you should have it checked. No one knows for certain the complete history of a property and today with the real estate market the way it is many properties have been "flipped" or renovated or possibly damaged by a contractor or a real estate speculator or even the previous property owners that may or may not have examined the property for lead contamination after their efforts. Never assume that if a property looks to be clean, well appointed and has great curb appeal that the property is void of lead contamination. If you are performing changes to the property, have the paint examined prior to the start of your project and if you've completed the project have the environment checked for possible lead contamination.
Is this all I need to know?
Depending on the age of the property you may want to consider other factors that can complicate a project such as asbestos. You want to make sound decisions when examining the property for asbetos and or water damage. Be reserved and don't rush to conclusions you have some time to consider your options. Take a moment gather your thoughts as to how you want to approach the situation. Understand what your budget definition is, what will your costs be not only in inspection and demolition services but in the replacement of lost building materials. Always ask questions, get as much as you can in writing, talk to friends and neighbors about your situation and ask them if they had a similar experience and if so can they recommend someone to you. One phone call can tell you many things about your service provider.