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Lead Paint: Still a Danger in Older Homes

   Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in residential homes in a number of ways. 
   Household paint containing lead was fairly common in older homes (those built before 1978), which contributed to lead exposure by dust from the paint when scraped or disturbed.  Federal regulations now limit the amount of lead that may be used in paints intended for household use.
   Since it was common for many older homes to have lead piping, or pipe-joints containing lead-solder, some homes are at risk of lead contamination through the water supply piping. 
   Lead may also be present in the soil around older homes due to the chipping, peeling and scraping of exterior lead-based paints.  Another source of soil contamination is the past use of leaded gasoline in automobiles.  This soil can be tracked into the home on shoes and contribute to lead dust inside the home.
   Children are especially at risk from lead exposure.  There are many adverse health effectsphoto of lead-based paint on a window sill in children that are attributable to lead, including behavioral problems, hyperactivity, headaches, learning disabilities, seizures and death.  Lead-associated problems in adults are manifested by muscle and joint pain, reproductive problems, and loss of memory and concentration.
   If you are buying or occupying a home that was built before 1978, it is advisable to have the home inspected for lead, especially if you are planning to repair or renovate the property. 
   For more information about lead and the effects of lead exposure, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/lead/.

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