Kevin Johnson owns an ACE Hardware franchise. Since the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recent announcement about new risks of lead paint in homes, he’s seen plenty of concerned parents checking out take-home lead test kits,
“We get a lot of people coming in to know what is in their paint or in their water at their houses,” Johnson said. “It’s especially people who have just moved here and in apartment complexes.”
He says parents shouldn’t panic, but rather should be informed.
How to know if you should be concerned
The first thing you want to consider is the age of your house.
Paul Hope with Consumer Reports says homes that are most at risk are ones built before 1978. That’s when the government banned lead in paint.
Was your home built before 1978? Hope says you should probably consider testing.
“If you know there’s an old door leading to your nursery and it’s banging against the door jam every single time it opens and closes, you know that’s scraping paint off each time you do that and those little particulates are falling onto the floor and that’s that’s a big red flag,” Hope said.
But testing for lead doesn’t have to cost you big bucks. We found reputable test kits online at Amazon for as little as $12.
Or check your neighborhood hardware store, like Kevin Johnson’s ACE store.
Once you have the test kit, take a paint scraper and get a sample from a baseboard, window or door casing. Pay specific attention to rooms surrounding where children play or sleep.”
If that test comes back positive, Hope says that doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands on home renovation.
“The first thing you should really consider is where the lead is and what the risk level is for that lead, making it into an area where it could be accessed by a child.”
So pick out the hot spots — such as a child’s bedroom or den — before you call an expert.
Paint stripping and repainting prices will vary. But having a plan will ensure you don’t waste your money.
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