Lead based paint in homes still a threat

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF)  Lead paint is the single greatest environmental threat to children ages 6 and younger according to the EPA and this week is designated National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. It's also dangerous to adults and if you're in the market to remodel your home you should heed experts advice.

Back when Derrick French, the owner of Derrick French Remodeling Contractors started remodeling homes more than 30 years ago, things were much different. He says precautions against things like asbestos and lead weren't really taken seriously. Today, French has a truck load of equipment and when a client calls for a remodel he has a very important question.

"First thing you want to ask them is when the property was built because that's going to determine if it has lead pain on it or not," says French.

French needs to know exactly what he and his crew are getting into. Homes built before 1978 were painted with lead-based paint. Over time, it cracks, chips and if you're remodeling all that poisonous paint is coming up.

"They need to make sure if they are going to take on the project themselves that they go to a reliable paint distributor," says French.

Lead can damage the brain and nervous system. It slows growth, causes hearing problems, headaches and anemia. It's most harmful to children under the age of six because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead dust on them in their mouths. Also, children's bodies absorb lead more easily than adult's bodies do.

Lead poisoning is 100% preventable if you know what to look for and what to do. You can get your home and your child tested for lead. The EPA has some great recommendations. We're linking you to that list from the EPA here.

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