WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR HOME
What can I do to protect my child from lead in the dirt around my house?
If testing turns up lead in the soil around your house, consider planting shrubs or a groundcover to prevent your child from playing in the dirt. Provide a grassy area for outdoor play.
In some cases, you may want to have the contaminated soil removed. If you want to plant a vegetable garden, bring in clean topsoil. Finally, remember to wipe dirt off your shoes or remove them before entering your house, and wash your hands and your child’s hands when you come in from the yard.
What can I do if I have lead in my pipes?
Even if you have lead pipes, you don’t necessarily have to replace your plumbing. Just be sure to use only cold water for cooking and drinking. Hot water leaches lead from plumbing more effectively than cold water does, so it will have a higher lead content than cold water.
Most experts recommend letting the cold water run for a couple of minutes when you get up in the morning and any other time no one’s run the water for a few hours. This flushes out the water that’s been sitting in the pipes.
You might also consider purchasing a filter certified for lead removal. Avoid filters that ionize water, as they make water even more efficient at leaching lead.
What should I do if my home was painted with lead-based paint?
You can have it removed, but this process would put a lot of lead dust into the air, which could be more hazardous than leaving the paint alone or encapsulating it behind drywall, wallpaper, or paneling. (Painting over lead paint doesn’t effectively seal it in.)
If you decide to remove the lead paint, have the work done by a professional certified by the EPA. To be safe, pregnant women and young children should stay elsewhere until the work is completed. If this isn’t possible, the workers should do one section of the house at a time and seal off their work areas from the rest of the house and yard.
Some experts recommend delaying the removal of lead-based paint until your children are older and less susceptible to its effects. If the paint is in pretty good condition and you decide to leave it alone for now, remember to periodically wipe any dust off painted surfaces with a wet disposable cloth.
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