What Is Lead and It's Uses?
Lead is a bluish-white metal, very soft, highly malleable, ductile, has a low melting point and is resistant to corrosion. These characteristics are what brought lead into common usage for a variety of products, some of which have included: gasoline, lead base paint, plumbing, fine crystal, electric cable insulation, storage batteries, ammunition and insecticides, just to name a few.
Where Is Lead Likely To Be A Hazard?
Where lead is likely to be a hazard: *Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead based paint and lead dust. Lead based paint can also be found on surfaces that children can chew on such as: Windows and window sills, window frames, stairs, railings, porches and fences. *Lead hazards in drinking water occur primarily as a result of the corrosion of materials containing lead in the water system. Over the counter tests for lead are available but are inaccurate. If you suspect lead is present at your property a State Certified Inspector can give an accurate assessment at a relatively low cost. For your safety and the safety of your family please consider any potential health hazards in your home today. Call A.L.A.M. Inc. for a FREE estimate today.
What Are The Health Risks Of Lead?
Lead poisoning is the leading environmental health risk to children in America today. LEAD, if ingested, can cause many effects ranging from nervous system damage to death. There is not a latency period for lead-related diseases, the damage is immediate. Although lead based paint in poor condition is a danger to the entire family it is of great danger to small children because they are still growing and developing and the damage to them is permanent and irreversible. Lead paint is sweet tasting to children that is why they like to chew on building materials painted with it.
Symptoms of lead poisoning in children:
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- loss of developmental skills
- loss of muscular coordination
At low exposures, the effects of lead poisoning in a child include:
- impaired growth
- hearing loss
- behavior problems*
- impaired short-term memory
***Health Risks to Children***
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that virtually two million American children who are under the age of six exhibit low-level lead poisoning due to exposure of lead hazards. The CDC also estimates that 10% of all children suffer from lead poisoning. Even children who appear to be healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies. Children usually acquire lead poisoning by ingesting the invisible lead-contaminated dust through normal hand-to-mouth activity. A small child may eat lead base paint chips or soil that contains lead. Children also are likely to place their hands, or other objects covered with lead-contaminated dust, into their mouths. They can breathe in lead-contaminated dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces. Lead poses a more serious threat to children than adults because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adult's bodies, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead hazards due to their growth development.
Symptoms of lead poisoning in adults:
- stomach cramps
- muscle aches and pains
- weight loss
- tendency to be aggressive
- pain in back and lower extremities
Health Risks to Pregnancies:
Roughly 4.4 million of United States women of childbearing age have elevated blood-lead levels. Lead stored in the bones will move out of the bones along with calcium. If a woman was formerly exposed to lead, the lead stored in her body may be released at an accelerated rate as calcium moves from her body to the unborn child, especially if her diet is calcium-deficient. The tissue of the unborn baby absorbs the lead as it develops in the womb. The developing brain is extremely vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead during this time. Due to the fact that lead can pass through the placenta to the unborn child, there is an increased risk of:
- low birth weight
- learning disabilities
- birth defects
- premature birth
- still birth
Lead Services Offered
What Is Lead Abatement?
Abatement is an activity in which the primary intent is to permanently eliminate lead hazards. Lead paint abatement can be very dangerous if done improperly, which is why it is best to hire licensed professional contractors to remove lead paint from your property. If done improperly, a greater lead hazard may be created. You can verify a lead abatement contractor by contacting the Michigan Department of Health or visit their website at www.michigan.gov/mdch
Common Abatement Methods and Definitions:
Enclosure: The easiest method. Lead paint is covered with flexible wall covering, paneling or gypsum board. Enclosure works best on large, flat surfaces that are not subject to friction.
Paint Removal: Can be done on or off the work-site. On-site paint removal often creates large amounts of lead dust, fumes and mists. This is best left to the professionals who are experienced handling the dangers that go hand in hand with this type of removal.
Replacement: Involves actually removing the object coated with lead paint entirely and then replacing it with new material. It's one of the best methods for doors, windows, and moldings.
Encapsulation: This method covers and seals lead paint with a special coating. It is less expensive than more thorough methods of abatement, but not suitable for surfaces subject to friction