Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Four Common Household Sources of Lead

Before 1978, many homes were constructed using building materials and paints that contained lead. Because lead exposure can cause serious health problems, it's critical to identify potential sources of lead and minimize contamination in residential spaces. Here are four common places that lead can be hiding in a home.

A person clapping their hands

Homes that appear spotless may still contain dangerous amounts of lead-contaminated dust, which can enter the house from several sources. Dust containing lead can be tracked in from contaminated soil on shoes or can be leftover from a home remodeling project with flaking lead-based paint. Practicing good hygiene, avoiding wearing shoes inside, and dusting windows, sills, and floors are all good ways to minimize the risk of dust that contains lead.


Lead is also often present in soil, where it comes from two primary sources:

  • Deteriorated buildings or fences that used lead-based paint or materials

  • Roadways where vehicles that used leaded gasoline were once common

Covering bare soil with grass, shrubs, mulch, or cement can minimize humans' exposure to lead in soil. For this reason, parents and caregivers should prevent children from playing in or ingesting soil.


Many homes built before 1930 were constructed with lead pipes for plumbing, but even homes built as recently as 1984 might also have used pipes containing lead-based solder in their copper joints. Any amount of lead in a plumbing system can easily contaminate the water, making it dangerous to use for drinking, cooking, or bathing. During a thorough lead inspection, a professional will test a home's water to check for the presence of lead.


Until the late 1970s, lead-based paint was commonly used on many household features and furniture items. In addition to the risk of flaking paint forming lead-contaminated dust over time, children have been known to ingest chips of paint that they find on the ground or windowsills. Merely applying another layer of paint on top of peeling or chipping lead-based paint isn't sufficient; it must be safely removed before it can be painted over.

Having a thorough lead inspection is one of the best ways of checking your household's risk of lead exposure. In addition to performing comprehensive lead inspections, the team at ASAP Environmental, Inc. provides residents in the Boston area with lead paint, asbestos, and mold inspection services. Schedule an inspection today by calling 800-349-7779.

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