We know lead can be dangerous and could be present if you have an older home. But how do you determine if there is lead present, and what should you watch for? In short: homes built before 1978, when the federal government banned its use, and antique painted furniture might have lead paint. Here’s how to spot lead paint and what to do:
Why you should be concerned:
Lead is a toxin and can cause brain and organ damage. Assume paint on antiques or old homes contains lead until tested.
- Lead paint often cracks in an “alligator skin” pattern.
- Chipped or flaking painted surfaces could be dangerous. You can buy lead test swabs at hardware stores which will tell you in a few minutes if lead is present.
What to do:
- Do not allow kids or pregnant women to come into contact with the item or painted surfaces if the lead test is positive.
- Ensure that painted areas are kept in good condition and be extra careful to clean up any paint chips.
- Wash hands thoroughly when touching or working with vintage items.
- Talk to a company that specializes in lead paint removal/remediation.