Be honest. When you last painted your house, was shag carpet still trendy and were bellbottoms groovy? If so, you might have a lead paint problem. If your home was built before 1978 lead was prevalent in paint, which is dangerous because if ingested, it can lead to an array to health problems such as brain damage and slowed growth in children.
Don’t panic! If the paint is in good condition and isn’t on an impact or friction surface like a window or doorjamb, it’s probably not a hazard. But, if it’s peeling, chipping, chalking or cracking, you need to give it some attention, especially if you have children! Look closely at surfaces children can chew on or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, like window frames, stairs, railings and banisters.
If you think you have a problem, follow these steps:
1) Clean the areas of concern at least weekly with an all-purpose cleaner. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash the mops or sponges after use.
2) Keep everyone’s hands washed and clean. Lead can be easily ingested by children who put their hands in their mouths.
3) Watch your children and make sure that they aren’t chewing on windowsills, stair rails, etc.
4) For step-by-step lead testing kit instructions, read the BrightNest to-do: Check Your Home for Lead-Based Paint.
Once the hazard is gone, have fun with your walls. It’s no longer 1978 and trends have changed! Say buh-bye to boring beige and give black a try. Black rooms are cozy, and give your worn-in furniture new appeal because colors pop off a dark wall.