Lead was added to paints right up until the 1980’s and was not completely banned in Australia until early 90’s. It is unsafe especially when disturbed, and should only be removed by a licensed, experienced professional. Aging flaking paint, airborne dust particles from sanding, or smoke produced from burning it off are the foremost causes of lead poisoning in homes. Elevated lead levels in the blood and accumulation of the toxin in the body left untreated can result in brain damage or death.
The first affected is often the family pet, or the children – who are most impacted by elevated blood levels and are more vulnerable to exposure due to tendencies to put things in the mouth, or play on the ground. Any lead particles ingested can seriously affect their developing nervous systems, interfering with intellectual development and behavior, even at very low levels. If removal is not performed correctly and dust is spread, occupants of the house and neighbors may notice symptoms like appetite loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, headaches, unexplained tiredness, irritability, confusion, fits, muscle weakness or paralysis.
Pregnant women are at even greater risk as lead can cross the placenta to their unborn child damaging the growing nervous system and increasing the incidence of premature birth. A doctor must be contacted immediately if lead poisoning is suspected. The only clear way to determine exposure is by a blood test. To reduce any risk of contaminating your home, use a licensed Lead Paint Remover, and monitor the job to ensure they are taking the correct precautions.
For more information click The Lead Group