What is the Problem with Lead-Based Paint?

If your house was built before 1978, there may be lead-based paint both inside and outside your house. Lead is a toxic metal and can cause serious health problems if ingested or if lead dust is inhaled. When lead paint starts deteriorating and when lead dust and flakes or lead paint accumulate on window sills, counter tops, and floors, it can contaminate the house and its surrounding areas. Since lead was once a common additive found in paints, pottery glazes, indoor plumbing and other common materials, lead-based paint exposure is not uncommon.

If you believe there may be lead-based paint inside or outside your house or building, you may want to consider lead-based paint testing by a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) technician.

Who is at risk for exposure from lead poisoning?

Anyone can be affected by exposure to lead. Children under 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning. Since young children have a tendency to put objects with lead dust on them into their mouths, younger children have a greater chance to put chips of peeling paint, lead dust or lead-contaminated soil in their mouths. Therefore, young children are much more likely to consume large amounts of leads than adults. Children’s bodies also absorb more lead than adult bodies do, and young children’s brain and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damage lead can cause. The main risk for adults comes from breathing lead dust.

Lead can also pose a threat to unborn babies. If there is lead in a mother’s system, it can pass to the fetus, cause premature birth, low birth weight, brain and nervous damage.

When should I perform lead-based paint testing on my home or building ?

Some of the reasons why you should have your home or building tested for lead=based paint include:

  • Your child has been diagnosed as having lead poisoning,
  • You live in a home built before 1978,
  • You are about to remodel or do anything that will disturb lead-based paint or generate lead-based paint dust and chips that can harm you and your family.
  • You are renting or buying a home.
  • You are concerned about possible lead exposure to you, your family and pets or visitors.


What does lead paint look like?

Still not convinced your house may have lead paint? Below, we’ve detailed three ways in which you can identify lead paint by sight alone:

  1. Looking at the age, condition and history the paint.

First things first, determine if the paint is from 1970 or earlier. In many cases, homes built before 1970 often have lead-based paint on the walls, doorways, stairwells and baseboards. If you know your house was built in the early or mid 1900s, there is a distinct likelihood lead-based paint may have been used. Oftentimes, historic buildings or homes that are old and have not been renovated may contain lead-based paint.

  1. Talk to the owner of the home, or the previous owners.

If you are a renter, talk to you landlord about the age of the home and ask them if they know whether or not lead-based paint has been used. If you are a homeowner, contact your home’s previous owners to find out if they know whether or not lead-based paint has been used in the house.

  1. Check if the paint is deteriorating.

Examine the paint in your home or building to determine if paint is peeling, flaking off, or deteriorating in any way. If it is lead-based paint, this may be cause for alarm. When lead-based paint is deteriorating, it can pose a health hazard since it will release lead dust as it breaks down.


  • Look at the doorways or stairwells and pay extra attention to doorways and stairwells. As these areas get more wear and tear, paint generally cracks, flakes and peels.
  • If you notice paint deteriorating and suspect that it may be lead-based, test the paint so you can address the issue immediately.

How can I deal with lead paint in my home or building?

  1. Paint over the lead-based paint.

If you’ve had your house tested for lead-based paint and it’s been determined not to be hazardous, you may be able to paint over it. Painting over lead-based paint with water-based paint may help you seal it and prevent any lead fumes from entering the home. Using water-based paints may seal the lead paint so it won’t chip and ensure the lead paint is not a hazard.

  1. Cover the lead paint with drywall.

You can cover lead-based paint with a new surface, like drywall. Doing as much will prevent the lead paint from getting damaged and exposing your home or building inhabitants to the lead.

Why It’s Important to Have Your Building Tested for Lead Paint?

If you are concerned about lead paint inside or outside your home or building, it is important to perform a lead-based paint inspection and lead clearance testing. Rarefied Air’s technicians are trained and certified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to perform lead-based paint inspections and lead clearance testing. We will provide you with a a formal report, the proper diagrams and all documentation needed to comply with local, state and federal regulations. Call Rarefied Air today for a free quote!