Testing Children for Lead In the Blood

Lead testing in Philadelphia

Traces of Lead Dust on a baby’s hands ends up in the mouth.

Lead Paint Inspection for Children’s Health and Safety
According to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania web site, in August of 2017, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called for the state to require that all children receive lead toxicity testing. Wolf is pushing for the testing, because so few children are being tested now. Some counties have only 12 percent of all children tested for lead exposure. The counties with the most testing occurring still had less than 50 percent of the children tested for exposure. Wolf wants to ensure that children who have elevated levels of lead in their blood stream receive medical services. He also wants to find out where pockets of homes exist that have higher concentrations of potential lead exposure. Pennsylvania has the third highest number of houses in the nation that were built prior to 1950. Housing that old is a risk factor for exposure to lead paint.

Testing the Home For Lead Based Paint

If you have young children or if you expect to start a family, your home, water, and soil should be tested for the presence of lead. Even low levels of lead in children under 6 years of age can cause permanent damage to the blood, brain, and other organs.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health web site, even at low levels of exposure, lead poisoning can create learning difficulties, hearing deficits, stunted growth, and slow natural development in children. When the lead exposure is high, children can experience convulsions, coma, or even die. Peeling paint chips are often picked up by toddlers and placed in their mouth, which is one means of exposure. The dust from lead-based paint can cause lead toxicity in children. Thus, even crawling on the floor could cause exposure to lead. Lead can also harm fetuses in the womb of pregnant women who are exposed to lead in their homes. This is why testing for lead exposure is a key health safety issue in Pennsylvania.

Get a State Certified Lead Inspection Company in Pennsylvania

Bayhill Environmental is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to perform environmental inspections to determine presence of lead in homes, apartment buildings, and commercial properties.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health web site stated one part of lead inspection involves lead paint testing. Water can be tested for lead as well. Homeowners can hire licensed inspectors to carry out the testing. In fact, the EPA urges homeowners to hire a state licensed inspector, because the results of the lead testing are so important. A state licensed inspector will be able to determine if the building has lead-based paint quickly, using an x-ray fluorescence machine, and can also take soil and paint chip samples for laboratory analysis.Thus, lead paint inspection is a critical safety issue for homeowners in Pennsylvania.

Order a lead inspection for your home or investment property. Bayhill Environmental provides lead-free and lead-safe certificates to homeowners, landlords, property management companies, and daycare centers in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Super fast response, same-day or next-day service is usually available.

The Importance of Protecting Families from Lead

lead paint inspectorMore than half of homes in Philadelphia were built in the mid 1950s, more than two decades before lead-based paint was outlawed across the US in 1978. That means that if you own either your own home, or a rental property, in Philadelphia, there is a very good chance that lead paint was used in the property at some point in time.

Thanks to recent laws, including the Lead Paint Disclosure Law, Philadelphia property owners who rent to families with children are required to have lead paint testing conducted in any home or apartment that was built prior to March 1978.

Get Your Home Tested for Lead

Private homeowners are not required to have their home tested for lead paint. While adults are at lower risk of lead poisoning, they can still suffer from the ravages of lead in the blood if they inhale or ingest lead dust over the course of time. If lead does exist, a homeowner should take careful measures to avoid disturbing painted surfaces.

Who is At Risk for Lead Poisioning?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed that no level of lead in the bloodstream is safe, especially for children. However, to fully understand the importance of eradicating lead-based paint and preventing lead dust in homes and apartments, it’s a good idea to take a look at how this substance can impact both children and adults.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, babies and young children are at the highest risk when it comes to lead exposure, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, with bodies and brains that are growing and developing very quickly, their brains and nervous systems are particularly sensitive and susceptible to the effects of lead. Additionally, little ones are more likely to ingest or breathe lead, since they are closer to the ground and more likely to touch objects that may have lead on them, and then put their hands in their mouths. They could also take in lead by inhaling dust or soil that might be laced with lead, or drinking water that is contaminated.

Adults are also at risk, and according to the EPA, could likewise ingest lead by eating or drinking food or water that is contaminated, or by breathing in dust in areas where lead-based paint is deteriorating. Although adults themselves are not as subject to the negative neurological impact of lead paint, it can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, whose developing babies may suffer the consequences of lead poisoning.

In order to protect families who may rent your home or apartment, then, it’s vital to have lead paint testing done. In these tests, a licensed technician uses a special tool to check all painted surfaces of the home to see if any of the layers of paint contain lead; if they do, further testing will be done to see if the lead paint has begun to deteriorate and cause lead dust around the house. Failure to get this testing done could result in a violation from the License & Inspections Department, which would require you to take steps to remediate any lead-based paint in your property.

Call a Certified Lead Inspection Service

Contact 215-284-0086 today to get a quote and scheduled your lead paint testing appointment, so you can keep your tenants safe and avoid violations.

Perform Lead Paint Testing to Prevent Violation

Recent laws in Philadelphia have made it clear to property owners how important it is to eradicate any traces of lead paint, especially if these properties are being rented out to families with young children.

Landlords Required to Test for Lead Based Paint

Because so many of these residences were built prior to the outlawing of lead-based paint in 1978, it’s not unusual for many to still have remaining layers of lead paint. The Philadelphia Lead Paint Disclosure Law requires that all property owners who are renting to families with children aged six and under have testing done and have the residence certified as lead-safe or lead-free.

Philadelphia Lead Paint Code

The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code is vital for all property owners to follow. It requires that all interior surfaces, including windows, doors, wood, and plaster, be maintained to prevent peeling, chipping, or flaking paint. If the License & Inspections department receives a complaint from a tenant about these type of conditions, an inspector will respond to the property, and issue a violation if any of the conditions are found. Such a violation will then require the landlord or property owner to take proper steps to remediate any lead-based paint hazards in order to keep renting families safe in the home.

Centers for Disease Prevention

The CDC has deemed any level of lead in the blood unsafe for young children, as it can cause nervous system disorders, attention and learning problems, and much more. Repairs and renovations to a home, such as replacing old wooden sashes or mouldings, installing fixtures, or even hanging pictures, can cause lead-based paint to deteriorate, flake, and chip off, leading to the dust settling around the home where young children can ingest it. As you can see, for families with young children and the landlords who rent homes to them, it’s a very serious matter that should be handled accordingly, in order to protect tenants and avoid violations.

Rental Properties to Be Tested Can Call This Number

To check your home or rental property for the presence of lead-based paint, contact Bayhill Environmental, which serves the entire Philadelphia and South Jersey area. Our licensed technicians use a special x-ray tool, known as an XRF Gun, to conduct a certified, efficient lead testing session. This tool checks all painted surfaces of the home to see if any of the layers of paint contain lead.

Certified Lead Free and Lead Safe Inspections in the Philadelphia Area

If there is no lead-based paint found on the property, it will be certified Lead-Free and never need another inspection. If there is lead-based paint detected, Bayhill Environmental will use a special dust wipe to test the particles for any active lead dust. If none is detected, you’ll receive a Lead-Safe certification and have to have another inspection done every two years or whenever a new tenant moves into your home.

Avoid violations and keep your tenants safe by contacting Bayhill Environmental today at 1-609-238-3012, in PA, 215-284-0086 or filling out our online form, to get a quote or schedule your certified lead inspection.

 

 

Advice for People Living in Older Homes: Get Educated About Lead Poisoning

Though it has been banned for residential use for decades, lead paint is still present in

many older homes.  In fact, lead based paint was finally banned in the United States in 1978.  Not all that long ago.

Dust and Chips Containing Lead are Poisonous to Humans

Lead paint can cause poisoning in people, especially in young children, who can develop any number of health-related issues from birth defects to organ and brain damage.

Many municipalities have made laws ordering landlords and apartment complexes to remove lead paint from units they own for the safety of tenants.  These ordinances vary from city to city but the important thing we want homeowners and tenants to know is, you should get your home tested for lead by a certified environmental risk assessor.

 Tenants: Ask Your Landlord for a Lead Safe or Lead-Free Certification

If you are a tenant, ask your landlord if he or she has a lead-safe or lead-free certification for the unit you live in.  If not, request one.  It may not be required by law depending on your city, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  It’s not very expensive to get tested and certified.  A few hundred dollars on average.  It’s worth the peace of mind to know you’re safe from lead poisoning.  If your space is found to have a lead exposure hazard, it will certainly be well worth the investment so you can get the heck out of there.

If you are moving into an apartment or renting a home built prior to 1978, request a lead test or proof of lead-safe or lead-free conditions prior to signing a lease.

If you are looking at purchasing a home, (and this goes for Philadelphia or anywhere else), request a lead-safe or lead-free certification.

There is a specific way to remove the paint and laws to follow, so contractors must be certified.  The process is expensive and you don’t want to discover this AFTER you have purchased your home or investment property.

How Does Lead Dust From Paint Become Airborne

In a previous article, we described how lead paint, encapsulated in layers of newer paint was released when a baby gate which gets opened and closed and nudged and bumped and shaken many times in a day disturbed the painted woodwork which resulted in creating lead dust.

A Common Cause of Lead Exposure-Window Sills and Window Seats

Windows and window sills are a lead exposure “hot spot”.  Because windows open and close and are subject to fluctuating temperatures and weather, paint, caulks and sealants decay faster causing paint to chip and flake.

Window sills are often used as shelves for books, picture frames, vases and knickknacks. Just the simple act of picking up a book and putting it down, looking at or dusting off photo frames, or changing the water in a vase of fresh flowers brings on the wear and stress on a painted surface which brings the lead content of old paint to the surface.

Lead based paint could exist beneath layers and layers of repainted surfaces.  

Once lead dust surface, it’s rather invisible.  We all have dust in the home and lead dust will be indistinguishable, especially as it blends with normal house dust.  It will, however end up on the hands, on the bottom of shoes and socks and ultimately become airborne.

There is no safe level of lead exposure and children are most vulnerable.   

We have sophisticated equipment is designed to detect it. The existence of lead paint is not always an eminent danger.  You can have lead paint in your home or apartment and be issued a lead-safe certification which is valid for a period of 2 years in the City of Philadelphia.  After 2 years, your dwelling should be tested again exactly because it’s important to make sure the lead is still safely beneath a protective coating.

If your property, home or apartment is certified lead-free, it never needs to be restested.

Get peace of mind.  Have your place tested for lead paint.  It fast, easy and inexpensive. You’ll sleep better knowing your home is safe for your family.

Discovered Lead in a Philadelphia Home

I was called in to inspect a home in Philadelphia in early July, 2014.  Due to the age and

location of the property, I suspected there was a strong chance of lead based paint on the premises.

The Presence of Lead is Not Always an Eminent Danger

Most of the walls and window sills  tested positive for lead.  This is not necessarily a dangerous situation.  If the paint is in good condition and has been recovered by new paint

Lead paint testing in Philadelphia

You do all you can to protect your children. Get your home tested for lead.

which does not contain lead, it can still be considered “safe”.  It’s not unusual for the presence of lead to be completely contained within the coating of new paint.  We give a home or apartment a “lead-safe” certificate.

What we do in this case is to take special samples called Dust Wipes and send them off to a lab for testing.  Lead in dust is a serious problem.  In with dust, it’s almost assured a certain amount of lead has already been inhaled or ingested and that’s a significant danger, especially to children.

Visually, this particular property was in very nice condition and although it tested positive for lead, I was anticipating a lead-safe result would be coming back from the lab.  However, before I left the property, I noticed a hinged baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and discovered a small patch of dust on the floor under the hinge.

Turns out, every time that baby gate is opened and shut, the vibration causes a small amount of dust to plume from around the screw holes.  The dust tested positive for lead.  A crawling child could easily end up with that dust on her hands, her pajamas, her teddy bear, on her face and in her mouth.

I am a trained risk assessor, not just a lead paint tester.  This is a scenario which could have easily been overlooked, especially because the house was otherwise in pristine condition.

Don’t take chances.  The peace of mind you’ll have from addressing the lead levels in your home is worth the small investment.  We give pricing right over the phone.  Call or fill out our online form today.

Certified Lead Paint Inspection Philadelphia Area

Landlords may be required to get either a “lead free” or “lead safe” certification by a certified lead assessor.

Homeowners are not required to have a certified lead content inspection, however, it is wise to do so.

Half of the homes in Philadelphia were built before 1956, according recent studies. The average age of homes in Philadelphia is now 55 years.  Since most homes in Philadelphia are susceptible to lead poisoning, laws have been enacted to protect its residents.

Philadelphia City Council took action against lead poisoning in 2011 when it passed Philadelphia City Ordinance 100011-A, also known as “the lead based paint disclosure ordinance.”

The ordinance requires that rental properties in Philadelphia be certified as either “lead free” or “lead safe” before they can be rented.

“Lead free” refers to a home where there are no traces of lead.

“Lead Safe” refers to homes that have traces of lead but are not at a dangerous level.

Landlords with tenants who have children 6 or under are required to get either a “lead free” or “lead safe” certification by a certified lead assessor. A “lead free” certificate lasts a lifetime while a “lead safe” certificate” has to be renewed every two years. A “lead safe” certificate is valid for only two years.

Failure to comply with these standards will result in fines levied by the city against the landlord.

The Difference Between Lead-Free and Lead-Safe Certification

The new lead testing law in Philadelphia brings rise to a number of questions. This one in particular:

What is the difference between lead-free certification and lead-safe certification?

The city of Philadelphia instituted a law to protect the health of you children who are the most vulnerable to the hazard of lead exposure.

Even the tiniest amounts of lead in the bloodstream can cause brain damage, nerve and organ damage.

This measure taken by the City of Philadelphia requires landlords who rent to families with young children to get a lead-safe certification prior to new tenant occupation.

A unit in lead-free condition will show no presence of lead whatsoever.  A lead-free certification is permanent and that unit need never to be tested again in the future.

A unit in lead-safe condition, mean that testing with a special XRF gun reveals the presence of lead.  However, a dust-wipe evaluation reveals no presence of lead dust.  This means the paint which exists in the unit is in good condition is no immediate threat to health.  In this case, a lead-safe certificate is issued.

A lead-safe certificate must be renewed in 24 months because lead-safe is only considered a temporary condition.  Peeling, chipping or disturbance of painted surfaces could trigger a breakdown of surfaces and initiate harmful lead dust.

Lead Paint Testing Professional Answers Frequently Asked Questions

Bill O’Donnel is the owner of Bayhill Environmental and is licensed in lead testing and lead exposure risk assessment in the State of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, he is answering several frequently asked questions which may be helpful to those concerned with the home environment, an investment property and with commercial property in order to not only preserve life and helth but also to be in compliance with any prevailing laws. (The new Philadelphia landlord’s law in Philadelphia for example)

Question: I see online, a person can buy a lead testing kit from Home Depot. Are they reliable and can you get lead-safe or lead-free certification from using such a testing kit?

Answer:  Testing for lead requires a thorough sampling of walls, doors, door jambs, windows and window sills in every room.  An X-Ray Fluorescence gun (XRF) bombards building surfaces with high-energy x-rays which is the only trustworthy proof of the presence, or conclusive proof of non-presence of lead content in paint.  It is the only method by which certification can be obtained.  I wouldn’t want to trust the health and safety of my family to a cheap testing kit when a true test with an XRF gun is only a few hundred dollars.

Question: These lead paint testing kits say “EPA Approved”. Does that mean the test is conclusive for lead-free or lead-safe certification?

Answer: No. These tests are not thorough enough to provide lead-safe or lead-free certification.  Our test is done in 2 processes. One with the XRF gun and the other with dust wipes which are very much like baby wipes.  These wipes collect surface particulates from most every surface of the home: walls, baseboards, window sills, and are sent to a lab for evaluation.

Question: How does lead dust occur?

Answer: The danger in lead exposure isn’t necessarily the paint on the walls but rather in dust created by disintegrating paint.  The existence of lead in paint is not necessarily dangerous.  The danger occurs when the paint breaks down.  This often occurs during renovation.  When windows or doors are removed, when surfaces are repainted and the surfaces sanded during the paint preparation process, for example.

Lead dust is invisible.  It clings to skin and clothing and the damage is done from ingesting the dust through inhalation and accidental oral consumption.

Question: Is lead paint testing required by law in the sate of Pennsylvania?

Answer: The only place lead testing is required in the state of Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia.  The city of Philadelphia has recently put in a new law to protect children from lead exposure.  In rented properties within the city of Philadelphia where children age 6 or under are living (or could be living), a lead-safe or lead-free certification must be registered with the City.

Question: Which properties are most likely to contain the presence of lead?

Answer: Properties built in the early 1900’s especially up into the 1920’s probably have lead-based paint in them somewhere.  Occasionally we find the old paint has been removed during a previous rehab but often the lead paint has been repainted over with new paint.  We often find lead content in exterior paint in garages, garage doors, windows and exterior wood surfaces.

Question: Is exterior lead paint a health hazard to the occupants of the home as it can be with interior paint?

Answer: Rain and weather bombard the outside of the home and this will cause lead in the water to drip into the soil surrounding the property. This can be dangerous particularly of garden vegetables are grown in this soil as the lead will leach up into the plant and the vegetables.

Question: Do you test for lead content in soil as well?

Answer: Yes, we do. If we suspect the exterior of the property contains lead paint, we often advise a soil test.

Question: Will newer, fresh coats of paint hide the existence of lead based paint?

Answer: No. The XRF gun will detect the presence of lead all the way down to the wood (original surface).  There is no danger in coating lead-based paint with fresh paint as long as the old paint is in good condition.

Question: Besides paint, is are there any other sources of lead in a home which could be cause for concern of lead exposure?

Answer: We have found the presence of lead in children’s toys, bowls and china.  These are definitely cause for concern as toys are often put to mouth by children and kitchenware will be in contact with food.

Question: Do you find lead paint on old or antique furniture?

Answer: Sometimes we do. And it’s usually not a problem. However, it’s not uncommon to want to refinish a nice piece of old furniture and that can get you into trouble. Sanding the lead based paint will create dangerous lead dust.  ANY painted surface made prior to 1978 could potentially contain lead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does A Lead-Safe Home Increase Its Value?

Awareness of the danger of the presence of lead in homes is always increasing.  Americans are increasingly health conscious and lead is a serious health issue for both children and adults.

Given the choice most people are going to choose to buy a home which is lead-free.  So it’s just common sense a property containing lead will be less desirable than one which is lead-free or lead-safe.

One can only guess when mortgage companies will begin to require lead-safe certification.

There are well over a thousand current lawsuits involving residential lead content currently so it’s highly likely insurance companies will ultimately figure lead paint risks as they pertain to insurance rates or even as criteria to deny coverage for homes without lead-safe certification.