What is a Lead Paint Risk Assessment?
A lead paint risk assessment is different from a lead paint inspection. The inspection identifies where in the home there definitely is / is not lead paint. This source of lead is only a problem if the paint has chipped, cracked, abraded or otherwise deteriorated. Damaged lead paint surfaces create lead dust. Breathing or ingesting lead containing dust contributes to lead poisoning.
A lead paint risk assessment professional will find all the sources of lead in the home. These sources include lead dust, lead in water, and lead in the soil on the property.
The level of risk is directly related to the amount of lead exposure to a child or adult. Usually a lead risk assessment is requested when a child has a high blood lead level. Trained assessors find lead sources and create a plan to minimize the lead poisoning risk.
Lead Exposure from Paint
Lead based paint is the main source of lead dust in a residential home. This dust comes from places where lead based painted surfaces rub against each other. Examples include old double hung windows, or old doors that rub against the casing. This friction creates invisible particles of paint that contain lead. The lead mixes with regular house dust and gets spread throughout the home.
Lead dust settles out on flat surfaces. There are strict rules about how much lead can be on floors, window sills, and window wells. Risk assessors perform dust wipes to measure if any lead is present. Results of the lead dust wipe sampling will determine the next steps to keep your family safe from lead poisoning.
Lead Exposure from Water
Many older homes and farmhouses built in the earlier 1900’s in Vermont have lead pipe. Sometimes the home has copper pipe, but the hidden pipe from the spring to the house is lead. Copper pipe put together with lead containing solder is also a hazard. Contamination can leach into the water, especially if the water is slightly acidic. Lead poisoning from water was seen in Flint, MI when the city changed the water to a more acidic source.
Lead Exposure from Soil
As lead paint chips fall off the exterior of a home, they are subject to weathering on the ground. Again, this creates lead dust that is incorporated into bare soil. Children playing in the dirt are exposed to a lead hazard. Vegetable gardens, especially root crops, may pick up lead into the edible parts of the plant.
What is in a Lead Risk Assessment Report?
The final Lead Risk Assessment report for a property will outline all the locations in the home where a potential lead exposure risk is located. The report recommends activities that will minimize or reduce lead exposure risks. Property owners can create a plan to move forward, to ensure lead based paint maintenance and re-evaluation.