Massachusetts has many charming historical homes. An older home can have beautiful woodwork, a large yard, and many unique features you just don’t find in modern homes. If you’re in the market for an older home, it’s important to think about lead and the risk of lead poisoning that’s common in older homes.
What is lead? It’s a naturally-occurring metal that has been used for hundreds of years. It can be found in old paint in homes built before 1978, batteries, pottery glazes, and bullets. Even though “lead pencils” have the word “lead” in them, they don’t actually contain lead so they aren’t dangerous to people.
What is Lead Poisoning?
People can experience lead poisoning when lead gets into their bodies. “How does lead get into a person’s body?” you might ask. Lead can get into the human body by the individual eating or breathing it. Eat lead? Generally, infants and toddlers can ingest lead paint by eating paint chips containing lead.
Lead poisoning can also get into the body through dust or soil tainted with lead because of old paint, leaded gasoline that has tainted dust and soil, tap water in people’s homes that are equipped with lead pipes, and lastly, paint and dust chips from old furniture, old toys, and pottery glazes made with lead.
The following people are at a higher risk of lead poisoning:
- Young children under age 3
- Children in a low-income household
- People who live in older homes or apartments
- People who are living in a house that was built before 1978
- People who drink tap water that comes from lead pipes
- People who use dishes made out of a lead-based pottery glaze
Lead poisoning can lead to learning difficulties, a low IQ, aggression, difficulties in pregnancy, reproductive problems in men and women, headaches, high blood pressure, nerve damage, memory and concentration problems, and much more.