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


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.


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


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.

Know the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Before 1978, particularly in the 1950s, lead was a common ingredient found in house paint. Homes painted with lead-based paint pose a constant threat even today, as painted surfaces break down over time, releasing lead dust that can be breathed in by children. Windows, doors, steps and porches are key zones where lead dust can be released.

Lead-based paint can similarly contaminate the soil around homes, a consequence of chipping paint and renovation activity. People can track this soil into homes where children play on the floor. Children are often most at risk for lead poisoning from either lead contaminated soil or dust.

What are symptoms of lead poisoning in children? 

Signs of lead poisoning are not always easy to see. Children may be exposed to lead but not look or act sick. Many children who have lead poisoning look and act healthy. Sometimes unclear symptoms may be misdiagnosed as stomach distress or the flu. Because of this, lead poisoning often goes unrecognized. A blood test is the best way to find out if a child has lead poisoning.

Symptoms of lead poisoning in children:

  • Weariness or loss of energy
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Abridged attention span
  • Poor hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Distress in sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Aches or pains in stomach

How can lead poisoning affect my child?

Lead is a poison that affects each organ and system in the body. Extensive contact with lead can cause coma, seizures and death. Even a small exposure to lead can impair children’s’ learning.

Exposure to lead can cause:

  • Brain damage and lowered intelligence
  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impaired speech and language
  • Slowed growth
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Hearing damage

How to protect children from lead poisoning:

  • Find out when your home was constructed
  • Frequently examine your home for signs of chipping, peeling or deteriorating paint
  • Use lead-safe experts, like Brickley Environmental, for home care and renovations
  • Keep areas where children play clean and dust free
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering the home to avoid tracking in lead from soil
  • Examine painted playground equipment for peeling or chipping paint

Lead Contamination Near L.A. County Battery Recycling Plant

In March of last year, a L.A. County battery recycling plant that had long emitted dangerous pollutants was closed. Before the Exide Technologies plant shut down, as many as 10,000 homes were contaminated with poisonous lead. The California Department of Toxic Substance has done a survey of 1,000 properties in the surrounding neighborhoods and found that all contained lead contamination in varying degrees.

Children suffer the most from toxic lead contamination. Analysis by the state Department of Health revealed that 3.58% of young children within a mile of the lead recycling plant had an elevated level of toxic metal in their blood, as compared to children who lived farther away from the plant. This high level of toxic lead mixing in the blood can cause learning disabilities and other developmental problems.

To clean up such a large-scale contamination will take years and cost millions of dollars. Communities affected by the contamination are understandably angry that state regulators did not act sooner to stop the plant. The plant operated for 33 years without a full permit, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control did little to act on the more than 100 violations reported by inspectors until 2013.

What can this case tell us about lead poisoning? In part, it shows that we must take responsibility for our neighborhood’s safety by preemptively removing potential sources of lead and other toxins. The simplest method for preventing lead poisoning in particular is the removal of lead-based paint, a service Brickley Environmental provides to homes and workplaces in the Southern California area.

Brickley Environmental is a leading environmental remediation company with 30 years of experience providing expert lead-based paint abatement services. Our highly experienced senior team handles every single project, meeting or exceeding all regulations and laws. With us, you will see the difference between licensed professionals and unsafe remediation.

7 Unexpected Sources of Lead Exposure

The serious water crisis in Flint Michigan, still ongoing, has brought the issue of lead contamination back into the public spotlight. Most people assumed they were safe from lead exposure, but this crisis has highlighted the reality that lead could be lurking in our own homes and we wouldn’t even know it. Here are seven places lead might be hiding:

1. In the soil – Lead seeps into soil from a number of different sources, including from lead-based paint, from ground water, or from industrial dumping in the area. If you grow plants in this soil and then eat those plants, you could be exposed to lead. You might also simply inhale it while being around contaminated soil.

2. Dust – While Flint might be having the water crisis, there are other towns around the nation that are having a lead dust crisis. As lead paint is naturally disturbed (especially paint around doors and windows), lead dust is created that is then breathed in.

3. Paint – Many homes still contain lead paint. Even when sealed underneath paint that does not contain lead, there are still sources of contamination, including paint on toys and areas of paint that are easily disturbed.

4. Water – Water, especially because it is often run through old lead pipes, is a huge source of lead exposure. Even if just the welding on your plumbing contains lead, it could be seeping into the water that you use for cleaning dishes, showering and bathing, and drinking.

5. Hobbies – Some hobbies are more likely to bring you into contact with lead than others. For example, if you enjoy throwing pots, you are probably going to come into contact with lead used to make glazes and dyes. Fixing old cars, fishing, refinishing furniture, and hunting all bring you into contact with lead.

6. Toys and costume jewelry – Unfortunately, a huge number of toys have been manufactured using lead paint. Old toys are the worst offenders, but even new toys, especially those produced in China, could still be contaminated with lead paint.

7. Playgrounds – If the playground in your area is more than thirty years old, it is possible that the equipment was painted with paint that contained lead. If the paint chips off, sticks to the hands of your child, and is then ingested, this could lead to lead poisoning.