Open Windows Can Let in Fresh Air … And Surprisingly Lead too!

The recent events in Flint, Michigan have led many families to become concerned about the drinking water in their homes. However, they may be overlooking another source of lead that is coming in through their open windows. 

 Lead may still be present in the paint and wood of homes in the US that were constructed before 1978. Every time a window is opened, the fine lead dust is disturbed.  Children are especially vulnerable. They are closer to the ground and more likely to inhale or consume the dust that forms along the windows.

How to Address Lead in the Home

The first step is whether the home was built before 1978. This is a time when lead was legally used in paint. Lead gave paint considerable durability and it was cheap, so it was commonly used up until that year. if your home was built before that time, then consider having a professional service inspect and test the home for the presence of lead paint, even if it has been covered over for many years.

There are a few other materials in the home that may also be made with lead. This includes certain toys, jewelry, and imported candies. Continued exposure can build up the presence of lead over time. Here are some basic things you can do which may help reduce the lead exposure in your home.

Replace the windows.
Check the Water for Lead: Especially Hot Water.
Clean More Frequently: To Reduce the Amount of Dust.
Look for Peeling Paint: Underneath may be a source for lead.

There is no known treatment for the effects of lead-poisoning. Too much exposure may lead to lifelong health, cognitive, and behavior issues that can never be properly treated. This is especially true for children who are even more susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning. This means that cleaning and replacing windows may either not be enough or you may be looking in the wrong direction.

It is best to call a professional company that has experience with its identification and removal if you believe lead may be present.

Why Call Brickley Environmental?

Call the professionals at Brickley Environmental if you believe that lead may be coming into your home in the air or through the water pipes. They offer their extensive knowledge, years of experience, and complete training to identify sources of lead and remove it from the home, office, or facility.

Know the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Lead has been an important metal used for thousands of years in many different products. However, it was not until the 20th century that the threat of lead poisoning was fully understood. By the 1970s, lead was banned from most products, especially paints, and many considered the issue to have been successfully addressed.

However, recent discoveries in states like California have shown lead remains in the water supply and still poses a threat. Even today, it is still important to be able to identify the symptoms of poisoning early so that it may be addressed quickly.

Symptoms in Adults

For adults, the symptoms of lead poisoning are difficult to properly diagnose because they can often be confused with other illnesses or issues. The common symptoms of lead’s presence in the body include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Pain in muscles, abdominal area, and joints
  • Headaches
  • Mood disorders
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth

Usually, it is only when several people show up to medical facilities with the same condition that lead in the environment is checked for as a possible cause. If there is no discernable cause for your symptoms, you should ask the physician to check for the presence of lead.

Symptoms in Children

This is where lead poisoning is particularly insidious as it can stunt the growth and development of children, especially those under the age of five. Possible signs of poisoning include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Delays in development
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Loss of hearing & seizures

Sources of Lead Poisoning

The two most common sources of lead exposure come from pipes and paint made before the 1970s. While such sources are fewer and farther between today, in California recent tests in some communities showed that lead pipes are still being used in poorer, less developed neighborhoods that have not changed since the 1960s or before.

It’s also possible that lead contamination of the water supply may come from natural sources as well. Regardless of the source, if there are any signs of lead poisoning in the community, water supplies should be checked out quickly so that any lead contamination can be addressed effectively.

If you believe that lead is present in your home, building, or facility, contact the team at Brickley Environmental. They have the knowledge, skill, and equipment to inspect, identify, and remove lead from the property. Do not let another day go by if you suspect that your family or employees may be exposed to lead.

Potential Lead Poisoning in California Drinking Water

It started in a San Diego grade school when a therapy dog refused to drink the water. The water was tested and found to have polyvinyl chloride, a polymer used in PVC pipes that degrades over time. However, the testing also revealed something the dog did not smell, the presence of lead.

The elevated levels of lead in the drinking water were not only present in that school, but in other schools in the Southern California area, including Los Angeles. Lead is a neurotoxin that causes brain damage and developmental disorders even in the smallest amounts, so the discovery of the lead has caused great concern, much like it did in Flint, Michigan.

History of Lead Poisoning

Lead has been a part of human history for thousands of years, but the effects of lead were not fully realized until about a half-century ago. In the early 1970s, lead was banned from most substances, including paint. Children became sick after being exposed to the dry, peeling lead paint in older homes.

The presence of lead in drinking water is mostly associated with older buildings that also used lead pipes or other materials made from lead that interacted with the water and have slowly degraded over time. Since lead was banned its presence still crops up from time to time, mostly in drinking water.

How California Is Responding

Two bills have been presented into the California State Legislature. The first, AB 1316, calls for the Public Health Department to ask doctors across the state to do more investigating into potential lead exposure of children under their care. This would include testing children that may have been in contact with lead.

The second bill, AB 746, requires that all school districts immediately test the water for any presence of lead. If a lead contaminated source is found, it will need to be addressed immediately. So far, 2% of all children tested in California has shown some signs of lead exposure. This is mostly true for Southern California children, particularly those in Monterey, Humboldt, and Los Angeles counties. A zip code in Fresno showed that 14% of the children had been exposed to elevated levels of lead.

The main problem faced by California now is a lack of knowledge about the different potential sources of the lead. By testing children they will hopefully find where the lead sources are located so they can be properly addressed. Catching exposure to lead early leads to treatments that may minimize damage, although there is no cure yet.

If you are concerned about the potential for lead in your drinking water, contact the professionals at Brickley Environmental. They have the tools, equipment, and professional training to detect issues with your drinking water and act to remove it from the building. Do not let another day go by if you believe your water should be tested, call Brickley Environmental today!

What You Need to Know About Lead Paint

This article is part of our new “Need to Know” series. Stay tuned for more articles explaining the basics of environmental dangers and remediation throughout the coming months! 

lead paint

Lead is a metal pigment that was used in paints for many decades thanks to its long-lasting properties. However, it was discovered in the early 1970s that lead is a neurotoxin that may cause brain damage when consumed or breathed in by people and pets. In 1978, lead paint was banned in the US, but before that year it was used to paint most homes, offices, and facilities. If your home or building was constructed before 1978, there is a good chance lead paint still exists on the property.

It should be noted that lead paint is harmless as long as it still adheres to the surface, or when covered by other paints or sealants. However, once it starts to chip or peel, the lead can easily contaminate the air and be inhaled or ingested by people or pets.

Addressing the Dangers of Lead Paint

Identification

Lead paint is relatively easy to identify. If you suspect that it is present in your home or building, a professional lead paint removal company can have samples of the paint tested in a lab. If the results come back positive, you will need to take the steps necessary for its removal. Although the paint may be harmless now, at some point it will present a danger as it starts to chip or peel.

Removal

The removal process is generally accomplished by first spreading out drop cloths that catch the paint chips that fall from the walls or ceiling. Once the removal process is complete, the drop cloths are simply rolled up and disposed of in the proper manner.

The surfaces are wetted down to prevent the paint from going airborne when scraped or sanded from the surface. Those removing the paint wear approved respirators to prevent inhaling the dust and everyone else leaves the area for their protection.

Once all the lead paint is collected and removed, those who performed the task will launder their clothing and shower thoroughly to remove even the smallest particle. This will ensure their protection and help protect others with whom they might come into contact.

It is recommended that you hire a qualified, licensed, and insured professional lead paint removal company. Their trained technicians have the knowledge and experience to do the job safely.

How Brickley Environmental Removes Lead Paint

At Brickley Environmental, we offer the best in lead paint removal services to protect those who occupy or work on the property. We use the proper equipment as our trained personnel remove the paint in a safe, secure manner. Once removed, the lead paint is properly disposed of so that the residence or building is now safe to live or work.

If your home, office, or facility was constructed before 1978, you may want to check for the presence of lead pain. Please call our offices and talk to our friendly, courteous staff who will explain our services, answer your questions, and can send out a representative to see if your property has lead paint present. The sooner you know your home, office, or facility has lead paint, the faster it can be properly disposed.

Recent Lead Poisoning in California

leadtesting

Despite a nationwide effort to remove lead contamination from buildings and residences, children in the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles are still being diagnosed with lead poisoning. With the focus of lead removal efforts being in the Rust Belt and along the East Coast, it seems that California was overlooked.

Lead used to be commonly found in paints, gasoline, and plumbing. It took several studies to confirm that lead poisoning in children caused a considerable and irreversible impact on their health, including impairment of cognitive functions along with attention disorders. After a wave of public reports, lead was banned from new paints, gasoline, and plumbing fixtures across the US in the 1970s. However, despite extensive efforts to remove the sources of lead from homes and buildings built before its banning, lead contamination is still an issue.

In one area of Fresno, California alone, 13.6% of children under the age of six who were tested for the presence of lead came back positive and at high levels. Even during the height of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the number of children affected was 5%. At least 29 neighborhoods in California had children where their lead poisoning levels were on par with those from Flint.

While there have been extensive efforts in many communities across California and the US to remove sources of lead, poor children tend to fall through the cracks. Some areas in California, including some of the most populated, have lead contamination issues that have gone unchecked for many years. Only now is the problem being reexamined thanks to these recent revelations that will most likely reveal even more lead contamination in California.

Unfortunately, while testing children will expose lead poisoning, it does not expose the source of the contamination. Such sources may include tainted drinking water, old lead-based paints, or contaminated soil. This means that until the sources are positively identified, more children will be at risk for lead poisoning that if left unchecked will lead to serious health issued in the future.

If you suspect the presence of lead in your home, office, or facility, call the professionals at Brickley Environmental. They have the knowledge, experience, and training to remove the lead safely. Lead is a dangerous substance that can cause serious, debilitating health effects, especially in children. Do not wait if you suspect the building that you live or work in contains lead. Call Brickley Environmental today for their vaunted inspection and removal services.