What are the Overall Costs of Lead Poisoning and Abatement?
Since Congress banned lead paint in 1978, drastic improvements were made to significantly lower exposure rates. Even though many improvements have been made, lead poisoning is still a serious hazard for many, especially young children, all over the country.
Exposure to lead paint can lead to severe neurological and biological damage. Studies have shown links between exposure to lead paint and increased special education needs, attention deficient disorder, behavioral problems and even violent behavior later in life.
Cost of Lead Abatement
If you’ve purchased a home that was built before 1979 and has not had any renovations done, you’ll want to hire an inspector that is certified to test for lead paint. The cost for the testing can range between $250 to $350. If the results show the presence of lead-based paint, there are several options with varying costs for removing it.
Should you decide to hire a professional to remove the paint, the cost will depend on how much is found in the structure and if there are additional repairs that need to be made. These repairs could include asbestos removal, replacing lead pipes or windows, and even other small repairs to kitchens, bathrooms.
Options and Cost for Specific Types of Lead Abatement
Encapsulation is the most affordable and least complicated option for lead paint abatement. In this method, a specially-made paint is rolled over the lead-based paint. This particular paint creates a watertight seal over the toxic layer.
A gallon of this paint costs around $50 each. Not including labor, a homeowner could expect to pay around $1,400 for a 2,000-square foot home. A possible downside to this method is the action of opening and closing doors and windows; this paint layer could eventually wear off.
Removal or Replacement
The removal process is overall costlier but offers a couple of different options. Some of these methods include a wire brush or wet hand scraping or using a low-temperature heat gun to strip off the paint.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, removal costs range from $8 to $15 per square foot. Depending on the method of removal, a 1,200-square foot house could cost around $9,600, with a 2,000-square foot home totaling around $30,000.
Economic Impact of Lead Paint Poisoning
The most common affected group of people needing treatment for lead poisoning are young children under the age of 6. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 190,000 children had lead levels high enough to be considered poisonous.
Elevated levels of lead in children can lead to serious, irreversible health problems. Health-related costs due to high blood levels of lead in each year are estimated to be between $10.8 to $53 million.
Some studies show that there are also other economic areas impacted due to lead poisoning.
There’s a link between IQ and lifetime earnings loss due to the prominent level of lead in the blood. Research shows this can result in an estimated $230 billion in lost potential earnings.
Elevated lead levels in children have been known to cause more interventions for ADHD or special education needs. These interventions cost from between $30 to $146 million over the course of the lives of all children born in one year.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, research has shown a link between children who’ve been exposed to lead poisoning and behavioral problems later in life. Associated costs of lead-related crime are estimated to be $1.7 billion; which includes monetary compensation to victims, costs accrued through the criminal justice system and loss of income.
It may seem as though lead paint removal can be a costly process. However, the costs associated with treatments and possible life-long medical or behavioral struggles are even higher.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation claims that for every dollar spent controlling exposure to lead, $17 is returned in health benefits, reduced criminal activity, increased IQ and lowering special education costs. These figures lead to the average net benefit of lead hazard control to be around $225 billion, which outweighs the overall costs of lead paint abatement spent after exposure.