Lead paint has been a very real health risk for most people in the world for decades now. Millions of older buildings worldwide can potentially house large amounts of lead-based paint on the walls or other surfaces.
Most notably, piping systems and ventilation systems may contain lead-based paints or finishes that can be more easily dispersed to the general population. Recent health crises have primarily been related to lead being distributed to people via pipes and old paint.
Lead in Populated Areas
Even though many major cities in the US banned lead-based paints in the 1960s, many people still test positive for high levels of lead every year. This is especially important for children, who can suffer more severe consequences related to lead exposure. Even New York City, which banned lead paint in 1960, still has thousands of children who test positive for lead exposure every year.
Higher numbers of people testing positive for high levels of lead exposure inevitably lead to more people who need to be treated. Treatment starts at critical levels of lead exposure, which can lead to death if left untreated.
The negative impact of higher levels of people needing treatment for lead can be felt in multiple ways. New funding may be needed to clean public sites that contain lead, taking funds away from other projects. Extremely high levels of lead can even lead for certain areas inside towns or cities to be temporarily abandoned.
How to Mitigate Lead Exposure
Mitigating lead exposure may seem like a tall order, but it can be tackled head-on by landlords, property owners, and site managers. Scheduling an audit for any dangerous lead-based paints (or other lead-related hazards) is extremely important for any property owner.
Whether you own a residential complex or an industrial site, the need for a lead inspection remains the same. Many people go in and out of large sites each day, increasing the chance of lead exposure. Older buildings are especially at-risk, especially rehabilitated sites that may not have been fully inspected or remodeled with lead paint in mind.
An audit can determine whether or not a site needs to be treated for lead paint and can provide recommendations or solutions on how to do this. While cleanup costs may be high, future lawsuits and fines will dwarf the costs of an audit & clean-up.
Staying On Top of Lead Abatement
While lead levels and related illnesses have declined steadily in recent years, it is still important to stay on top of lead-related issues. Continuing inspections, audits, and cleanup & removal projects is the only way to eliminate the public health hazards presented by lead paints and other materials.
While owners of older properties may be subject to annual inspections, owners of newer or rehabilitated properties may not be. It is important for those who aren’t subject to annual inspections to ensure their property is safe and lead-free.
Make sure to talk to any environmental or health auditing agencies to see if your site needs help with lead-related issues.
Illinois Environmental Contractors Association Resources
For more information on finding a local contractor to assist with asbestos information, remediation, or removal check the resources below: