Superstorm Sandy forces most of the South Shore homeowners to renovate their homes...not realizing they might've cross-contaminated their homes with toxic lead dust.
What's lead and who's affected by it? Well, any home built before 1978 is at risk.
Lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure to which can produce a wide range of adverse health effects. Both adults and children can suffer from the effects of lead poisoning, but childhood lead poisoning is much more frequent.
During the many years since we've known about the hazards of lead, 10s of millions of children have suffered its health effects. Even today, in 2013, there are still an astounding number of children younger than six years old who have too much lead in their blood.
Children - and adults, too - can get seriously lead-poisoned when renovation and remodeling activities take place in a home that contains lead paint.
Anytime a surface containing lead paint is worked on, the debris and the dust created by the work must be contained and thoroughly cleaned up, and those doing the work must have adequate personal protection to prevent them from breathing in any lead dust generated by the work.
It's therefore of critical importance that lead painted surfaces be identified prior to the commencement of any renovation or remodeling work, and that lead-safe work practices are used during such activities.
Of course, steps must also be taken to ensure that children, pets and personal belongings including furniture are protected from exposure to lead while work is on-going, as well.
What are the health effects of lead poisoning?
There are many different health effects associated with elevated blood lead levels. Young children younger than six years old are especially vulnerable to lead's harmful health effects because their brains and central nervous systems are still being formed.
For them even very low levels of exposure can result in reduced IQ, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing and kidney damage.
At high levels of exposure, a child may succumb to mental retardation, fall into a coma and even die from lead poisoning.
If you have a young child in your home and you suspect there may be a lead problem, then take the recommended steps to eliminate any lead-contaminated dust, and make sure the child washes his/her hands frequently. Make sure to also clean any toys that have been lying about in areas that you suspect might contain lead-contaminated dust.
Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy caused and made lead-safe work practices nearly impossible. We found ourselves ripping, removing and repairing our homes and leaving them in a much more harmful state, never realizing that we might've made our family sick for generations to come….
If you own or rent a home that was built before 1978 and want to have your home checked, then you can call Robert Deacon with VangoCleaning.com for a FREE lead test and to get info on the remediation process of toxic lead dust. Call 631-974-7034 or text the word “LED” to 71441.
For a quick look into lead dust and what it can do, watch these two videos: