What Is Lead Abatement?
If you’re not well-versed in the world of construction, abatement might be an unusual term that’s outside of your typical vocabulary. Lead abatement refers to the process of removing hazardous materials contaminated by lead.
Abatement also encompasses actions like covering up lead-contaminated spaces so that they’re safe for future use. If the lead-contaminated materials in your home are essential to the house’s structural integrity, your lead abatement specialist might choose to cover the area instead of opting for total removal.
The abatement process involves extensive safety precautions. The lead abatement specialist will seal off the affected area, remove the dangerous materials, provide a thorough cleaning, and perform lead dust sampling at the end of the job to ensure no lead is present. If you’re concerned that there is lead present in your home’s building materials, consult with a certified lead abatement specialist to remove it safely and securely.
Why Hiring a Lead Abatement Expert Is So Essential
There is an abundance of dangers associated with the presence of lead in your home. Older homes are at a higher risk of containing lead-contaminated materials. Ignoring your lead problem during renovations will pose serious threats to the health of all the residents in your home. Working with an experienced lead abatement specialist during construction is essential in ensuring your health and safety throughout the process.
Where You Can Find Lead in Your Home
For homes built before 1978, lead can pose a significant risk to the residents. Until that point, the United States federal government had virtually no laws regulating the use of lead in construction materials. Currently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development believes that upwards of 35% of all homes in America contain lead-based paint or painted materials. Lead is most commonly found in the following areas of a home:
- Household dust
- Handrails and banisters
- Doors and doorframes
- Windows and window frames
- Trims and molding
It’s crucial to act quickly if you suspect the presence of lead in your home. Lead poisoning causes severe bodily harm if not caught early, so it’s essential that you ensure your home’s safety, especially if you have children.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms
Lead poisoning is a silent killer that affects thousands of Americans each year. It’s estimated that lead poisoning causes over 400,000 deaths per year, either directly or indirectly. Children are especially susceptible to the various agonizing illnesses associated with lead poisoning since they’re most likely to ingest items containing lead. The harmful substance has caused long-term issues in residents of homes that contain lead. Some short-term symptoms typically associated with lead poisoning include:
- Developmental delays and learning disabilities
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Vomiting and stomach pain
- Hearing loss
If it’s caught early, lead poisoning treatments effectively minimize the symptoms of the severe affliction. However, if left untreated for prolonged amounts of time, lead poisoning can create even more severe health issues for adults further down the line. Existing conditions that can be exacerbated by lead exposure include:
- Memory loss and concentration problems
- Mood disorders
- Blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Fertility issues in men and women
The dangers of lead exposure are well documented, so you must ensure your lead abatement specialist is experienced before beginning any construction or renovations on your home.
When To Hire a Lead Abatement Specialist
If your home was built before 1978, there is a significantly high chance it contains lead-contaminated materials.
4 Things To Look for in Your Lead Abatement Specialist
First and foremost, you should find an experienced lead abatement specialist to help with a lead-contaminated renovation. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to compare local lead abatement companies before choosing a contractor that works well for them.
Consult with friends or neighbors to see if they’ve used any notable contractors in recent years. There are also various online resources like Yelp or Angie’s List, where you can search for local lead abatement companies and read through reviews from real customers.
2. EPA Registration and Firm Certification
Any construction projects that disturb lead-contaminated building materials require a registered firm to obtain EPA certification. Contractors must register their firm with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state-authorized program before enabling their renovation experts to receive technical training on lead abatement and other construction activities.
Utilizing an uncertified firm can result in some hefty fines, so ensure that your chosen lead abatement specialist is part of a registered firm and has up-to-date certifications with the EPA before beginning your project.
3. Individual Certifications
It’s not only essential that choose a certified firm, but one with individually certified workers as well. Check with your contractor to ensure that all crew members working on your construction project are individually certified by the EPA.
There are several certifications a lead abatement specialist can obtain. A lead abatement supervisor certification allows workers to oversee the let abatement process and participate in it, too. Lead abatement supervisors are knowledgeable in the local rules and regulations surrounding lead-contaminated construction and material removal.
Lead abatement workers also need certification. The lead abatement worker certification educates employees on the basics of lead-related illnesses, safe lead removal practices, and other rules and regulations abatement workers are required to know to perform their tasks properly. Working with a company whose entire team consists of certified specialists ensures that the lead abatement process will be completed safely and efficiently without disturbing other areas of your home.
5. Full Transparency
The last thing you want to look for in a lead abatement specialist is full transparency. It’s confusing when contractors leave you in the dark about the construction process that’s taking place in your living space. Lead contamination can cause serious health issues, so you want an honest abatement specialist who will address any questions and concerns you may have during the process. An experienced contractor will keep the construction site clean and safe so you can be back to your usual living conditions in no time.
Lead contamination in your home is nothing to take lightly. Lead poisoning can have severe consequences on you and your family’s health in the long run. If you live in an older home and suspect the presence of lead paint or building materials, you might consider getting in contact with a local lead abatement specialist to remove the contaminated pieces so your family can continue to live comfortably for years to come.