If you own a home built before 1978 or live in an older apartment complex, there’s a chance that the paint on the walls contains lead.

While you may have heard about the dangers of lead poisoning, there are a few details you need to know. Keeping your family safe is the most important concern.

Here’s how to tell if it’s dangerous, and tips about how to get rid of lead paint.

Test for Lead Paint

Using a home test kit for lead in paint is easy. Scrape off the paint very carefully. If there are multiple layers, you’ll want to check each one for lead. Swab each layer of paint with the tool provided to see if the swab turns color, indicating the presence of lead.

These test kits have two possible kinds of chemicals to help you perform the test. They are sodium sulfide and rhodizonate. It’s a good idea to get one of each to be thorough, although either one should give you accurate results (both should be on the shelf at your local hardware store).

You can also send a paint chip off to a lab for testing if you don’t want to do the testing yourself.

Decide Whether to Remove the Paint

Lead paint can harm your brain and organs if you’re exposed to it. Yet if the lead paint in your home is in good shape, without any signs of chipping, flaking, or damage, then you shouldn’t need to remove it. It’s only when the paint can get into the air, soil, or water, that you need to worry.

To prevent the paint from spreading around your home, you can paint over it. Find another paint you like (even if it’s a similar color) and do it yourself, or hire the job out to a professional painting crew if you choose. Painting over the lead paint in your older home is a great way to protect your family and loved ones from lead exposure.

Follow Guidelines for How to Get Rid of Lead Paint

For paint that isn’t in good shape, you’ll need to remove it to stay safe. The EPA wants to make sure that lead doesn’t get into soil or water tables, so they have strict rules about removing lead paint. In fact, whoever does the work has to have an EPA certification before they can legally do the work.

Rather than DIYing the job yourself, which would involve getting your own certification, hire the work out to a certified contractor. They’ll know how to close off the area to prevent any dust or debris from getting into the rest of the house, as well as dispose of the lead-based materials before they contaminate anything.

Seek Compensation

If you’ve had to move out of your apartment to have the lead paint removed, you may be able to ask your landlord to help reimburse your living expenses. Depending on the method by which you found out about the lead paint, you may also have been exposed to the danger of lead poisoning. Sampson Law Firm can help you find information about filing suits based on lead paint exposure.

Protecting Yourself and Others

Knowing these ins and outs of how to get rid of lead paint means you have more options. You may not even have to remove it at all.

Make the right decision for your family’s safety. Whether you have to repaint or remove old paint, the best thing is to take care of your loved ones.

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