In Denver, CO, lead paint is likely to be present in many homes. The EPA has stated that many of the homes in the Denver area were constructed prior to 1978. Lead paint was used extensively until the late 1970s, and even though it has been banned for decades, it still lingers in many buildings.
If your home was built before 1978, there’s a good chance it contains lead paint. While lead paint isn’t necessarily dangerous if it’s in good condition and not disturbed, if it’s deteriorating or you’re planning on doing some renovation or need repair work after a property damage event, you’ll want to test for lead paint and have it removed by a professional before starting any work. Keep reading to learn more about lead paint and how to identify it in your home.
What is Lead Paint?
Lead paint is any paint that contains lead pigments. It was used frequently before 1970, and then again in limited cases until 1978 when it was finally banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to concerns about its health effects (more on that in a sec). Since many homes in Denver, CO were built before that, there’s a good chance your home may contain some lead paint. Lead paint has a distinct color, usually a shiny bluish-gray hue. It’s also typically very thick and has a chalky texture.
Why is Lead Paint Dangerous?
Lead paint can be dangerous if it’s disturbed and small particles of dust become airborne. This dust can then be inhaled or ingested by people or pets who are in the home, leading to lead poisoning.
What is Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning is a serious health hazard, particularly for young children. Lead poisoning can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, developmental delays, anemia, hearing problems, and other issues.
Symptoms of lead poisoning include nausea, abdominal pain, confusion, and headaches. In extreme cases, it can even lead to coma or death.
If you think your home may contain lead paint, don’t panic just yet – there are ways to identify it and make sure everyone in your home is safe.
What should you look for?
So, how can you tell if your Denver, CO home has lead paint? Here are a few signs to look for:
- Peeling or chipping paint: If you notice any peeling or chipping paint in your home, there’s a good chance it contains lead. To be safe, try to avoid touching or disturbing any peeling or chipped paint. If you do come into contact with it, be sure to wash your hands immediately.
- Strange smells: If you notice a strange smell coming from any painted surfaces in your home, it could be a sign of lead paint.
- Discolored areas: If you see any suspiciously discolored areas on painted surfaces in your home, it’s worth investigating further. Lead paint typically has a dull appearance and may appear darker than other paints used in your home.
- Stained or dirty halo around painted areas: Another sign of lead paint is a stained or dirty halo that appears around painted areas in your home. This is caused by dust and chips of lead-based paint that have settled on surfaces around the affected area.
How to Test a Paint Sample for Lead
If you’re concerned that your home may contain lead paint, one of the best ways to find out is to test a paint sample. You can either take a sample yourself or have a Denver, CO professional take one for you. Keep reading for instructions on how to test a paint sample for lead.
- First things first, you’ll need to gather some supplies. You’ll need a lead testing kit, a dust mask, painter’s tape, and some plastic sheeting.
- Once you have your supplies, put on your dust mask and carefully gather a small piece of painted surface (chips or dust are ideal) from the wall or area you’re testing.
- Tape off the area around the sample you’ve removed with the painter’s tape and cover it with plastic sheeting to contain any dust.
- Follow the instructions that come with your lead testing kit to prepare the sample of the dust from the area you’ve removed the paint from for testing.
- Send your sample off to a laboratory for analysis and wait for the results.
If you find lead, it’s important to have it removed by a professional as soon as possible. Lead paint removal is an involved and potentially dangerous process that should only be done by experienced professionals.
Lead paint is no joke—many homes near Denver, CO were built before 1978 and if your home was built before 1978, there’s a good chance it contains this harmful substance. But don’t worry, testing for lead paint is relatively simple and can be done using a store-bought lead testing kit. Just be sure to follow all safety precautions and hire a professional to remove the lead paint if your test comes back positive so that you can renovate your home safely!
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) is a state health department in the U.S. state of Colorado. The CDPHE serves Coloradans by providing public health and environmental protection services that promote healthy people in healthy places. One of the ways they work to achieve this mission is by increasing awareness about lead poisoning and providing resources and information about lead exposure prevention.
The CDPHE provides a variety of resources on their website about lead poisoning prevention. If you are concerned that you or your family may have been exposed to lead, the CDPHE can help connect you with the resources you need. So if you’re living in Denver, CO, be sure to check out the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment website for more information on lead poisoning prevention!