Lead is a Neurotoxin

Where Is It Found?

The likelihood that a building contains lead-based paint depends on when it was built and painted. Buildings constructed before 1960 probably contain lead-based paint. If the building was built after 1980, there is no need for concern about lead levels in interior paint, but there may be lead in the paint used on the outside. There is no need for any concern about leaded paint in buildings built after 1992, because all consumer paints produced in Canada and the U.S. by that time were virtually lead-free. If plumbing in your home or office was installed before 1960 there is a high chance that it either has lead in the pipes or in the solder used to connect the pipes.

Lead is a heavy, soft, bluish-grey metal found in the earth’s crust. Used extensively in modern industry, lead exists in and around buildings as flakes or dust from old lead-based paint and household water pipes made of lead or containing lead solder.

Interior paint more than a few decades old may contain lead. If your house was built before 1960 and surfaces are covered with several layers of paint, your house likely contains high levels of lead. Lead paint is dangerous because the friction from opening and closing doors or windows with painted frames can produce lead paint dust. Sanding, scraping, or heating lead-based paint can produce large amounts of lead-containing dust or fumes.

Buildings constructed before the 1960’s can contain a lead service connection linking the house to the water main. Buildings of all ages can contain lead plumbing solder or lead pipes. Lead accumulates in water when it stands in the pipes, so the first water out of the tap contains the most lead. To avoid large lead consumption in this situation, let the water run as cold as possible. Avoid using hot tap water for drinking and cooking as it absorbs the lead more readily.

Why Is It A Dangerous Toxin?

Lead poisoning symptoms can include insomnia, irritability, restlessness, poor attention span, memory loss, headaches, anemia, muscle tremors, and stomach cramps. Short-term exposure can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, and death. Excess levels of lead in the body can impair male fertility and increase miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature deliveries.

Toxic exposure to lead can affect a child’s brain and nervous system development and can lead to behavioural problems, learning disabilities, or reduced intelligence. Developing fetuses and pre-school-aged children more readily absorb lead.

What Can I Do?

Our qualified staff at Glacier Environmental can help you to determine if you have excessive sources of lead, assess the risk, select the most appropriate method of managing the problem, and perform the abatement operation — removal and disposal or encapsulation.

Call us if you think you may have lead lurking in your home or business.


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