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Older houses and lead paint?

We're house shopping and a few of the ones we REALLY like are on the older side. But the lead issue concerns me. Does anyone know the rundown on this? Can you test a place for lead? If so, how? How do you fix it if it's there? How much would it cost? Our realtor said we could just repaint but that just sounds like putting more chemicals over even worse chemicals to me. Any experience or resources on this?

Answer Question

Asked by jus1jess at 2:48 PM on Sep. 4, 2010 in Home & Garden

Level 14 (1,801 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Our house is 117 years old, so yeah, there's lead paint in here somewhere, but we don't have any problems with it because it's been painted over, eg. sealed, by new coats of paint that are safe. The only time we need to worry about the lead paint is if the paints starts chipping off or when we remodel a room in the house, and then we just wear respirators until it's been all cleaned out (plaster replaced w/drywall or new plaster, etc.) and/or repaired. The lead in the dried paint can't really hurt you unless you ingest the paint chips or inhale paint dust as you cut through a wall or something. Heck, we've even got asbestoes ceiling tiles, but as long as we don't touch them, they're fine. However, it's going to be a b*tch when we go to remove them because of all the regulations regarding asbestos.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 2:55 PM on Sep. 4, 2010

  • Here's some info that might answer a few questions. It sounds like there are federal laws and state laws covering this. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 2:56 PM on Sep. 4, 2010

  • I've always lived in older houses and it's never been an issue. If the paint isn't chipping or peeling, it's not a big deal. In Chicago all kids are tested for lead if they live in certain older neighborhoods and my kids have never had a problem with it. Painting over would be a good quick fix. It would be a problem if you decided to renovate the house because that would kick up a lot of dust and particles from the paint (if you are knocking walls down.)

    Answer by justanotherjen at 3:09 PM on Sep. 4, 2010

  • We bought an older house in 1999. It was a 1955 ranch, and we renovated it. It wasn't until this year when I learned how much damage lead paint can cause. We didn't think to cover vents and turn off the furnace when we worked on our house (we were only 20 and inexperienced). We breathed lead dust for the six years we lived there. I had both of my kids tested for lead this March and have been putting them through hell ever since. I was anemic when I was pregnant, and apparently when a woman is anemic, any lead she's exposed to goes to the fetus. My youngest only lived in the house four months, but his lead levels were high. My older son lived in the house for three years, and his lead levels were more than double his brother's level. They have both been going through chelation since March. My oldest, who had very high lead levels, hasn't shown any improvement. I'm wondering now if the damage is reversible for him.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 9:33 PM on Sep. 4, 2010

  • Continued.
    My youngest has shown incredible improvement. His speech has dramatically improved. We're still dealing with problems with both, but I have higher hopes for my youngest son's success as we get rid of the lead.
    After all we have been through, I can honestly say that if I could go back eleven years, I never ever would have bought that house. I'd sooner burn it to the ground than have to go through what we have.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 9:35 PM on Sep. 4, 2010

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