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Lead Inspector's Notebook Local Law 122 Local Law 123 New York City Local Law 31

New York City’s Local Law 31 & Lead Testing Laws: A Simplified Guide for Property Owners

Local Law 31: What You Need To Knowlocal law 31

Lead paint poses significant health risks, especially to young children. Recognizing this, New York City has enacted stringent laws, complete with hefty fines for non-compliance. For owners of multifamily properties, it’s crucial to prioritize lead testing and remediation, especially in light of recent regulatory updates. To help you navigate these complex requirements, we have prepared a concise guide which outlines complex legislation into key actions and critical deadlines. This guide is tailored to ensure you remain compliant and safeguard the health of your tenants.

NYC lead lawImmediate Actions for Testing with Children Involved

Children Under the Age of Six: Dwellings with children under six must be inspected within one year of their residency under Local Law 31. Additionally, units in buildings constructed before 1960 that host children for over 10 hours weekly require testing, regardless of residency status.

Local law 122Deadlines to Note

Local Law 31 and Local Law 122 – Lead Testing Requirements

  • By August 2025, all pre-1960 buildings must undergo comprehensive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing for lead paint in dwelling units and common areas by an EPA-certified lead inspector.
  • Annual Reporting: Beginning August 2025, you’ll need to provide records of any lead hazard violations and investigations to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) upon request. The threshold for defining lead-based paint has also been lowered to 0.5 mg/cm², from the previous 1.0 mg/cm², as of December 1, 2021.
  • Exemption: HPD encourages owners to apply for an exemption for spaces that test negative or have had lead-based paint surfaces abated.

NYC lead lawFuture Responsibilities

Local Law 123 – Lead Paint Abatement

For units suspected of containing lead paint and housing a child under six:

  • By July 2027, door and window friction surfaces must be abated. Lead paint hazards must be remediated, including making all floors smooth and cleanable.
  • Post-January 1, 2025: Units that are newly occupied by children under six after this date must meet the above mentioned abatement and remediation requirements within three years of move-in.

Tenant Communication

  • Annual Notices: Each year, between January 1 and 16, tenants must be provided with annual notifications in both English and Spanish regarding lead paint hazards. Failure to receive a response from tenants by February 15, necessitates a follow-up investigation by owner between February 16 and March 1 to confirm the required information.
  • Leasing Requirements: Inquire about the presence of children under six during the time of leasing or renewal; certify the completion of required lead-related work; and provide the appropriate occupancy notice regarding lead-based paint hazards.

Compliance and Penalties

Non-compliance with these regulations can result in significant penalties. Be sure to keep thorough records of all compliance activities. Resources are available to assist you, including sample forms for annual notice delivery, investigation compliance, and more.

Navigating New York City’s lead laws is vital for property owners, not just for legal compliance, but for the health and safety of tenants. By adhering to these guidelines, conducting necessary testing and remediation, and communicating effectively with tenants, property owners can create safer living environments and avoid potential penalties. Stay informed and proactive to protect your investment.

If you need lead testing contact RTK Environmental at 800.392.6468.

For your convenience, here are links to key documents:

Categories
Dust Environment Health Healthy Home Lead

Protecting Your Family: Understanding and Preventing Lead Poisoning

Protecting Your Family: Understanding and Preventing Lead Poisoning

March 18th marks the beginning of National Poison Prevention Week, a time to shine a light on the hidden dangers of lead poisoning and take proactive steps to safeguard your family.

The Threat of Lead Poisoning

Lead exposure poses significant risk, especially for young children. Shockingly, 1 in 40 children in the United States, aged 1-5 years old, has unsafe levels of lead in their blood, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that approximately 3.3 million American households with children under six live in homes containing lead-exposure hazards, a devastating statistic because the effects of lead poisoning can be severe and long-lasting. It can impact brain development and cause a range of health problems, including autism-like symptoms, brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, tendencies towards violence, and behavioral and learning problems.

Identifying Lead Exposure Sources

Where is lead harbored?

  • Older Homes and structures built before 1978 often contain lead-based paint and other materials like asbestos. When disturbed (during renovations and sanding, for example), dangerous lead paint chips and lead dust can be released. Even opening and closing an old window can release dangerous amounts of this toxic dust.
  • The soil in our surroundings often contains harmful remnants from past industrial practices or the use of leaded gasoline. If ingested or breathed in, it can cause serious health problems.
  • Water supply: In older homes, lead pipes or solder within plumbing systems can contaminate drinking water.
  • Imported Goods: Some products from countries without the same safety standards as the U.S., may unknowingly contain lead.

Taking Action to Stay Safe

Protect your family, especially children, by following these steps:

Test and Screen

  • Get a Professional Home Inspection: If you suspect risks to your home, have it professionally inspected for lead. Children should also undergo regular screenings by their doctor to check for any signs of lead exposure.
  • Take Precautions during Renovation: Before any renovation, test your home for lead paint, especially if it was constructed before 1978.
  • Hire Certified Professionals: It is imperative that the company responsible for your project holds certification in lead-safe work practices issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Practice Awareness and Cleanup: Be mindful of the presence of lead during renovations and consult a professional for a cleanup plan if lead is found.

Awareness and Acknowledgment

Be Aware of the Risks: Many individuals fail to recognize the potential hazards of lead paint lurking within their residences. Whether you reside in a historic 1800s Victorian house or a modern apartment, if lead paint is present, you and your loved ones are at risk of lead poisoning.

Check National Poison Prevention Week Resources

To find out more about lead poisoning prevention, you can visit the following resources: 

CDC Website: The CDC provides comprehensive information on lead poisoning, including sources of exposure, health effects, and testing children for lead poisoning.

EPA’s Website: The Environmental Protection Agency offers valuable insights and resources on lead exposure and prevention.

HUD’s Website: The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides essential information and support for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, including steps to create localized outreach and educational materials.

National Poison Prevention Week serves as a crucial reminder to understand the risks and take proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our children. By being informed and proactive, we can mitigate the dangers of lead poisoning and create safer environments for our families.

Categories
Healthy Home Indoor Air Quality & Radon Lead

Scented Candles: Are They Dangerous?

Scented Candles: Are They Dangerous?

What’s not to love about a good scented candle? They fill our homes with lovely aromas. A coconut breeze brings you to a beach in Bali or a breath of lavender vanilla makes your stress melt away. But reviews are mixed about the impact of burning these candles on our health.

The fact is, many scented candles are mass-produced with sub-standard ingredients, and can lead to poor indoor air quality (IAQ). The wick, wax, and perfume they’re made from can emit harmful chemicals.

Chemicals Abound in Fragrances

chemical fragranceAccording to the American Lung Association, for people who suffer from asthma, just the scents alone can cause problems with breathing. The candles emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), some of which are irritants; others can cause cancer. In addition, they can react with other gases and form additional air pollutants even after they are airborne.

What’s in all those fragrances and scents? Formaldehyde, alcohol, esters, and petroleum distillates, all of which can cause health issues. Headaches, dizziness, and trouble breathing are among some of the symptoms that have been reported from the inhalation of these VOCs.

And there are other hazards

cored wickDo you ever wonder how a candlewick is able to stand up? Many wicks are “cored,” meaning they are made out of metal wrapped in cotton to give them strength. When the wicks burn, trace amounts of heavy metals are released into the air. In the past, lead also was used in candlewicks, but in 2003, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned using more than .06% lead in a wick. Lead has since been replaced by zinc and tin. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that candles are any safer; they still may be releasing trace amounts of lead and other toxins into your environment.

How can you tell if there is lead in the wick? Try this simple test. Rub the wick of an un-burnt candle onto a piece of white paper. If the wick leaves a gray pencil-like mark there’s probably lead in it; if there’s no gray, you’re probably safe.

Danger from candles: it’s more than fire

scented candleUnless you buy a soy- or vegetable-based candle, the wax in a waxed candle is usually made out of paraffin, which is a petroleum byproduct. When paraffin is burned, it can release acetone, benzene, and toluene into the air, all known VOCs that are carcinogenic. They are the same chemicals released in diesel fuel emissions!

According to a study from South Carolina State University, paraffin wax can cause long-term harm. “The paraffin candles we tested released unwanted chemicals into the air. For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies, and even asthma,” said Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi, a chemistry professor in the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences. “None of the vegetable-based candles produced toxic chemicals.”

Burning a scented candle also can produce particulate matter and soot that can remain suspended in the air for hours. The smallest particles can elude our bodies’ natural defense systems and pass right into our lungs, causing coughing and wheezing, and even acute health issues like heart attacks or stroke.

What Can I Do?

soy candlesLimit the time you burn candles in order to reduce any negative impacts on your health. Try vegetable and soy based candles, which are much healthier options. You also should consider using electric candles: they’re high on ambiance and low on health hazards.

While lighting candles isn’t going to kill you overnight, they can contribute to overall poor air quality in your home. If you are concerned about the quality of your indoor air, schedule an Indoor Air Quality test to find out if there are unacceptable levels of VOCs or mold, or any other toxic substances that you might be breathing in.

Categories
Lead

The Hidden Danger of Lead in Children’s Toys: What Every Parent Needs to Know

The Hidden Danger of Lead in Children’s Toys: What Every Parent Needs to Know

 

It is safe to say, most parents want to protect their children from all kinds of danger, but “danger” is not usually associated with toys. In the United States, there are laws to protect us from dangerous products, including lead in toys. However, if we buy toys from third party sellers, especially online, there are no guarantees that they don’t contain lead, a toxic substance that is especially harmful to children when ingested.

Lead is so toxic, that currently, there are no safe exposure levels established, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Yet, lead-containing toys are alarmingly prevalent in today’s marketplace. Recent incidents measuring lead in children’s products, particularly those made in countries with less stringent safety standards, have highlighted the problem: there is an ongoing risk of lead exposure from seemingly “safe” children’s products.

Ongoing Safety Concerns in the Marketplace

This issue isn’t new. In 2017 and 2018, over 15,000 children’s products sold through Amazon contained unsafe lead and cadmium levels. Even after Amazon claimed the products had been removed, they or similar ones resurfaced. Consequently, the Washington Attorney General mandated that third-party sellers provide safety certificates.

lead toysDespite these efforts, in 2023, as The Wall Street Journal reported, Amazon still resembles a flea market with limited oversight over third-party sellers, many based in China. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tries to prevent these imports, but gaps remain.

Testing the Products

Only certified labs can accurately test toys for lead, as do-it-yourself kits are limited in their detection capabilities. Tamara Rubin of the Lead Safe America Foundation used a professional XRF gun to test various toys, revealing shocking lead levels in well-known classic toys.

What Can Parents Do?

  1. Check for recalls: Always check the CPSC website for the latest toy recalls.
  2. If you suspect lead exposure from a toy, immediately discard it and consult a doctor for blood testing and treatment advice.
  3. Take action: It’s crucial for parents to take immediate action to mitigate the risk of lead exposure from toys. Ensuring the safety of our children requires constant vigilance and a proactive approach to verify the safety of toys, especially those purchased from third-party sellers online.

Lead in children’s toys remains a significant concern, particularly with the increasing prevalence of third-party sellers. Parents must be vigilant, regularly check product safety, and act swiftly in case of suspected lead exposure. The well-being of our children depends on our awareness and actions.

 

 

 

Categories
Healthy Home Lead Mold Mold Testing VOCs

Essential Tips to Sidestep Holiday Hazards

 

‘Tis the season to be jolly but ignoring household hazards could just be sheer folly. So, we’ve compiled some valuable tips to keep you and yours healthy during the holiday season.

 

Live Christmas Trees Can Produce Mold

This is something you’ve probably never thought about. Yet, the festive charm of a live Christmas tree might mask its ability – potential – to aggravate asthma and allergies. That’s because somewhere, hidden in those fragrant green boughs, there may be mold spores and allergens. To keep this problem at bay, keep the tree indoors for a shorter period of time, wear protective clothing while handling it, and consider spraying it with water before bringing it inside and carrying it out for disposal. Be certain to keep it a good distance from the fireplace and keep it well watered to prevent it from drying out. Air purifiers can also help in reducing airborne allergens.

Artificial Trees Can Also Pose Problems

Though you won’t be plagued by needles shed by live trees, artificial Christmas trees can introduce another hazard: toxic lead dust because of how they are manufactured. The older those trees are, the greater the risk that they will release harmful lead dust, which can lead to lead poisoning. When shopping for an artificial tree, opt for those made in the USA and check for labels indicating they are made from safer materials like polyethylene plastic (PE).

Christmas Lights May Have a Lead Problem

It’s common for Christmas lights to contain trace amounts of lead, that are used in making wires more pliable. While this doesn’t mean you should forego the festive glow, it’s wise to wash your hands after handling the lights and to clean the surrounding areas in order to prevent the spread of any lead-containing dust.

Vintage Tableware: Beautiful but with an Ugly Fact

Grandma’s crystal and china might add elegance to your holiday table, but these older pieces often contain lead. Use them cautiously, especially around children and pregnant women. If you do use them don’t leave any food or liquid in them for any extended period of time, the lead will leach into the liquid or food and be absorbed into the blood stream when they are consumed.

Indoor Air Quality and Scented Products Can Pose Risks, Too

The delightful scents of holiday candles and air fresheners come with a downside: they may be releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These can cause health issues ranging from headaches to respiratory problems. Check labels and choose non-toxic scented candles made from natural ingredients; avoid paraffin wax and artificial fragrances.

Heavy Metals Contained in Menorahs

Vintage menorahs, especially those made of brass or ceramic glazed, may contain lead and cadmium. If you’re using a family heirloom, minimize the risk by cleaning it thoroughly each season and washing your hands after handling it.

Dirty Decoration Storage: A Mold Hotspot

Holiday decorations stored in damp conditions can become a breeding ground for mold. Check storage boxes for signs of moisture or mold before bringing them into your living areas. In case of mold, clean the items and consider having your storage areas inspected for water damage.

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Indoor Air Pollution and Its’ Sources

With the arrival of colder weather, when windows and doors remain shut, the risk of indoor air pollution increases. This pollution can come from burning candles, holiday cooking, and chemicals in household products. To counter this, ventilate your home regularly, use natural air fresheners, and choose green cleaning products.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Stoves: A Cozy but Polluting Tradition

Warmth and light emanating from wood-burning fireplaces and stoves may be enjoyable, but they also impact indoor air quality and contribute to various health issues. If wood burning is essential, use well-dried wood and consider installing a HEPA filter that will help to filter smaller particulate. Where possible, explore cleaner heating alternatives and create a cozy ambiance with a fireplace video and holiday music instead.

By taking these simple precautions, you can enjoy a festive and healthy holiday season. Remember, your health and safety are paramount. Stay informed, stay safe, and have a wonderful holiday!

Categories
Environment Healthy Home Lead Mold Testing Testing vs. Remediation

DIY Home Testing Kits for Mold, Lead, and Water Quality Are Risky. Here’s Why You Need a Professional

DIY Home Testing Kits for Mold, Lead, and Water Quality Are Risky. Here’s Why You Need a Professional

In recent years, do-it-yourself (DIY) testing kits have gained popularity among homeowners and renters alike. These kits, which are readily available online and at retail stores, promise to provide quick and easy answers to concerns about mold, lead, and water quality. However, while the convenience of DIY testing may be appealing, there are significant drawbacks to relying on these kits for accurate and reliable results.

Mold Testing Kits: Misleading Results Can Lead to Uninformed Decisions

Mold testing kits, which often rely on petri dishes to collect airborne mold spores, are inherently flawed in their methodology. Passive sampling, as this method is called, fails to capture the true extent of mold contamination, as it only detects ‘heavy mold spores’ that happen to fall into the dish. Lightweight mold spores, some of which ae the most hazardous, which do not drop as easily and tend to remain suspended in the air, are less likely to be captured in a petri dish thus evading detection by DIY kits.

Thus, mold spore counts are commonly inaccurate. When heavy mold spores seem to exaggerate a sample, the results might trigger unnecessary alarm, leading to unwarranted remediation efforts, or worse, a lack of spores may trigger a comfort level that will prevent necessary action for a real hazard. A professional sampling with a forced air non-viable spore trap is the only way to determine a truly accurate count of mold spores in the air. This, in conjunction with a professional visual inspection, moisture readings and thorough investigation of the conditions in an interior environment is the only way to determine conditions that require action for remediation or not.

Lead Paint Testing Kits: Overestimation and Inadequate Detection Limits

 

do it yourself lead testing kits

Do-it-yourself (DIY) lead paint testing kits, though convenient and cost-effective for checking lead in paint, present several risks and limitations. These kits often lack accuracy and sensitivity, potentially failing to detect low, yet extremely harmful, levels of lead. They are prone to false positives and negatives, which can lead to unnecessary anxiety or dangerous complacency. Their scope is limited, often testing only surface lead, and not identifying it in deeper layers. There are many possibilities for mistakes.

Moreover, they usually don’t quantify lead concentration, crucial for assessing hazard levels and planning remediation. Laypersons might struggle to interpret results correctly, and without professional guidance, they might not adequately address lead problems. Some kits’ chemicals, if mishandled, pose health risks, and disturbing lead during testing can lead to exposure. Also, DIY tests usually don’t meet regulatory requirements for lead paint testing.

Water Testing Kits: Inaccuracy, False Alarms, and Limited Scope

water test kit

DIY water testing kits present several risks and limitations. Their accuracy and reliability are often inferior to professional laboratory tests, potentially leading to false positives or negatives. These kits usually have a limited testing scope and may not detect crucial contaminants like heavy metals or certain microorganisms.

Incorrect usage, such as not following instructions or contaminating the sample, can skew results. Accurate transporting, even if delivered locally is imperative to a proper analysis of the samples. Unlike professional tests, DIY kits lack expert interpretation, which can lead to misinterpretation of results.

The shelf life and proper storage of these kits are crucial, as the chemicals and reagents can degrade over time. DIY water testing kits should not be the sole method of water quality assessment, particularly when accurate and comprehensive analysis is required.

The Value of Professional Testing

Given the limitations and potential pitfalls of DIY testing kits, it is strongly advised that everyone who cares about their health opt for professional testing services when concerns about mold, lead, or water quality arise. Professional testing services employ trained technicians, utilize calibrated equipment, and adhere to rigorous testing protocols, ensuring accurate and reliable results.

Professional mold testing involves a comprehensive inspection of the property, including sampling from various locations to accurately assess the extent and severity of mold contamination.

Professional lead testing utilizes EPA-approved methods to provide accurate and quantifiable results, ensuring that even low-level lead contamination is detected.

Professional water testing encompasses a wide range of contaminants, including lead, arsenic, nitrates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), providing a comprehensive assessment of water quality. Professional testing services also offer expert interpretation of results and guidance on appropriate treatment measures.

Conclusion

While DIY testing kits may sometimes seem faster, less expensive or more convenient, their shortcomings far outweigh their benefits. Relying on these kits for accurate and reliable information about mold, lead, or water quality can lead to misleading results, uninformed decisions, and health risks.

When concerns about these environmental hazards arise, it is essential to seek the expertise of professional testing services. Professional testing provides peace of mind, ensuring that you have accurate and reliable information to make informed decisions about your health and the safety of your home. Contact RTK to schedule a test today!

Categories
Asbestos Healthy Home Lead

Renovate Right: Top 3 Tips for DIYers

Renovation Advice: Top 3 Tips for DIYers

Eager to get moving on home improvements? Before you start sanding and swinging that hammer, there are a few important things to think about:

  • What type of surfaces and materials will you be disturbing?

  • Is there chipping paint?

  • Crumbling pipe insulation?

  • Smell of mildew?

If any or all of the above, you’ll need to take some precautions. Why? You may be subjecting yourself and your family to possible health risks, caused by the very particles you’ve disturbed. So, renovate the right way. Here’s how:

Tip #1: Know what potential toxins you will disturb before you begin. Test.

pre-renovation testingMold that you cannot see may be lurking behind your walls. Pipe insulation may contain asbestos fibers. Layers of old paint beneath more recent paint may contain lead. When you disturb these materials, dust and spores from these toxic materials may be released in the air. Then, they may travel through your home’s HVAC system.

Once that happens, you’ve contaminated your indoor environment. So, BEFORE you start the project, have an independent inspector test for lead and asbestos. If you wait until after you’ve disturbed these materials and discover that you have released toxins in the process, the clean up can be very expensive. Worst of all, you may have subjected yourself and your family to real health hazards.

So, Step One: call in an environmental testing company to have your home tested, especially if you live in a pre-1978 built home – the year lead paint was banned. If the test reveals toxic lead remnants, be sure you follow lead safe work practices, or hire a contractor certified in lead-safe work practices under the Renovation, Repair, and Paint rule (RRP).

Tip #2: Take proper precautions.

asbestos hazard

If a test confirms environmental hazards, take appropriate steps to keep yourself and your family safe. Follow these precautions:

Evacuate vulnerable family members.

While you are working, be sure children, pregnant women, and pets leave the premises for the day. They can return to the house after the work has stopped and the area is thoroughly cleaned. Even a speck of lead dust can cause irreversible damage to one’s health.

Contain the offending area.

Close doors leading to the work area. Then use 4-6 mil plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to seal off the work area. Seal all duct work, doors leading out, and windows with the sheeting. Your goal is to prevent toxins from contaminating the rest of the house.

Dress for the occasion.

Look for a mask or respirator with an N95 rating or higher, which filters out very fine particles. And be sure you wear it for the entire time you are working and cleaning. Also, buy a Tyvek suit to protect your clothes. If the work takes more than a day, leave the Tyvek suit in the contained area. Be sure to cover your feet with booties, which also should never leave the contained area. Once you remove the Tyvek suit and the booties, head to your washing machine, strip, and wash your clothes.

Avoid sanding.

Lead dust accounts for most of the 500,000 pediatric lead-poisoning cases a year. Sanding releases fine lead dust particles, which fly through your air, infiltrating the entire house. Unfortunately, these particles remain in the home for a long time. Therefore, sand as little as possible.

asbestos demolitionClean up well.

First, sweep up as much of the dust and debris as you can and put it into a plastic bag, which you then should seal with painter’s tape. Use a HEPA vacuum to remove any remaining lead dust particles. Then use warm water and clean rags to wash all surfaces. Every exposed surface must be cleaned well.

Tip #3: Protect your family from unnecessary health risks.

asbestos testing near meWhen the work is done, be sure to have a second environmental inspection performed by a certified testing company to be sure your home has been properly cleaned from lead, asbestos, mold, and other toxins. Otherwise, the health affects can be devastating.

Lead poisoning is shown to cause autism-like symptoms, ADHD, brain damage, lower IQ, and a host of other physical and mental issues. Mold causes asthma, allergies, and other serious respiratory ailments. Asbestos is a carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other serious respiratory ailments. Most asbestos-related diseases don’t arise until years after exposure.

Make sure your home is safe for you and your family. Test today.

Categories
Lead Health

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: A Valuable Guide to Keeping Your Family Safe

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: A Valuable Guide to Keeping Your Family Safe 

 

lead poisoning prevention week 2023Here’s a shocking statistic: 1 in 40 children aged 1-5 years in the United States has unsafe levels of lead in their blood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  That means approximately 3.3 million American households with children under six live in homes containing lead exposure hazards.  And over 500,000 children, under the age of six, are being diagnosed with lead poisoning annually – a statistic that doesn’t even include the number of older children affected. Clearly, lead poisoning is a serious health issue – and it is one that affects families living in suburbia and rural areas as much as it does for those living in cities.  

 

Lead poisoning can result in a range of serious health problems, including autism-like symptoms, brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, violent tendencies, and behavior and learning problems. It’s imperative that parents take action to protect their children from the permanent and irreversible damage caused by lead poisoning. 

 

lead paint hazardEven low levels of lead exposure can impair a child’s cognitive development, emphasizing the critical need for prevention. Early action, especially testing the home for the presence of lead paint and lead dust — will help to prevent serious health problems and save lives, since even small levels of lead exposure can irreversibly influence children’s development. 

 

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW), observed from October 22-28, 2023, serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting our children and communities from the dangers of lead exposure. It’s a good time to heed NLPPW’s theme: “Together, we can prevent lead exposure.”  

 

Do’s for Lead Poisoning Prevention 

The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable. Here are eight valuable do’s and don’ts from Robert Weitz, a licensed lead consultant and principal of RTK Environmental Group, to help protect you and your family from the devastating effects of lead poisoning. 

lead window sill

1. Understand the facts about lead paint.  

Lead was commonly added to paint used in residences until 1978. And while that was over 40 years ago, it is safe to assume that most older homes contain lead paint. When disturbed, as during renovation work or prep prior to applying new paint, dangerous paint chips and dust containing lead are generated. When they’re inhaled or consumed, they can lead to serious health problems. 

2. Have your home tested for lead paint.

If your home was constructed before 1978, it’s crucial to have it tested for lead paint, especially before renovating. Hire an independent, certified testing company that doesn’t conduct abatement, as this is a major conflict of interest.  

3. Know the sources of lead poisoning.

Lead dust is the primary cause of lead poisoning. It’s released from any interior or exterior component which gets into the air, water, soil, and onto the floor. Lead dust can also be found on playground equipment, pools, and toys. Other sources of lead are older pipes and plumbing fixtures, stained glass, toys, pottery glazes, leaded crystal, jewelry, antiques, folk remedies, food cans, artificial turf, and more. 

4. Take proper precautions when renovating.

Before any renovation, test your home for lead paint, especially if your home was constructed before 1978. Failure to do so can unknowingly release toxic lead dust into the air. And unless you know where the lead is lurking, you or your contractor can unknowingly release toxic lead dust into the air. Once the test is conducted, if lead is found, consult a professional for a cleanup plan.    

 

Don’ts for Lead Poisoning Prevention: 

lead paint removal

1. Don’t assume lead poisoning cannot happen to you.

In reality, many individuals fail to recognize the potential hazards of lead paint lurking within their residences. Whether you reside in a historic 1800s Victorian house or a more modern apartment, if lead paint is present, you and your loved ones are at risk of lead poisoning.  

 

2. Never allow an unlicensed contractor to undertake any work on your home.

It is imperative that the company responsible for your project, whether it’s a straightforward painting task or a comprehensive whole-house renovation, holds certification in lead-safe work practices issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Do not be swayed by any tradesperson claiming that certification is unnecessary; it is, without a doubt, a vital requirement. 

 

In accordance with the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Paint rule (RRP), any work performed on painted surfaces within a home built before 1978 must adhere to a rigorous protocol. Certified tradespeople are obligated to meticulously document the work they carry out. Furthermore, after the work has been completed, a crucial next step is to engage an environmental testing firm to conduct a secondary lead test, to ensure that your home is safe from lead contamination.  

 

3. Don’t assume your pediatrician tests your child for lead.   

pediatrician lead testWhile some states mandate lead screening for children under the age of three, in most states, it is up to the discretion of the pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the decision to test for lead poisoning often depends on your geographic location. The best way for you to know if your child has been tested for lead poisoning is to ask your pediatrician. If your doctor does not automatically test for lead, ask that it be done. It’s a simple blood test and could save your child’s life. 

 

In sum, lead poisoning is a pervasive issue that affects a significant number of children and families. It is crucial to raise awareness and take proactive steps to prevent lead exposure. By understanding the risks, testing your home for lead, and advocating for your child’s health, you can play a vital role in safeguarding your family from lead poisoning’s devastating effects. During National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and beyond, let’s work together to eliminate this preventable childhood disease. 

 

Categories
Asbestos Dust Lead

Are Toxins Hiding In Your Dust? Find Out With a Dust Characterization

Are Toxins Hiding In Your Dust? Find Out With a Dust Characterization

lead dustNearby new construction can certainly be a nuisance, what with all the noise and disruption. But there is a much larger issue that should concern you: the dust.

Dust from construction can be downright toxic. It can easily seep into your apartment, workplace or home, polluting your indoor air and covering your belongings. A simple test can tell you what’s contained in that dust and whether it can cause health damage.

In New York City alone, where the construction sector added 45,300 new jobs between 2010 and 2018, an increase of 40 percent, and construction spending set a record of $61.5 billion in 2018, there’s plenty of dust to go around.

Is dust really an issue?

asbestos dustConstruction dust often contains a host of contaminants, including lead and asbestos. Older buildings are very likely to contain these dangerous materials, which, when they are disturbed, become part of the stream of ordinary dust.

Dust generally falls into three categories: workplace, industrial, and home. With the rise of construction in New York City, it is most certainly an issue to be aware of. According to the Hayward Score, which identifies major issues in your home that can impact your health, your dust often contains a complex combination of particulates, dander, pollen, fibers, heavy metals, chemicals, mold spores, and more.

Dangerous lead and asbestos are often found in dust in cities, especially when there is nearby construction. Gabriel Filippelli, a professor of earth sciences and director of the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University-Purdue University, furthers states in the Washington Post that lead-contaminated soils, and dust generated from them, are tightly linked to the lead poisoning of children.

These substances can also cause:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Neurological issues
  • Reproductive problems
  • Impairing a child’s development
  • Cognitive damage
  • Other health issues

dust characterization testA dust characterization can help you to identify these and other unknown particles, including cellulose fibers, dander and dust mites, biologicals, minerals, fungal allergens, synthetics, and MMVF (manmade vitreous fibers). RTK’s dust characterizations, performed by licensed environmental inspectors, can usually determine—or rule out— whatever mysterious matter is plaguing your home or workplace.

When should I have a dust characterization?

dust transferIf you live or work in a construction area, or if your neighbor is doing renovation work or remodeling and you notice an increased amount of dust on your premises, you should definitely consider a dust characterization. You may be at risk, as you don’t know what substances are being carried through the air. Other reasons to have a dust test are:

  • If you have small children who crawl on the floor, they are more likely to ingest dust from hand to mouth contact;
  • If you are experiencing unexplained health symptoms;
  • If you work outdoors or live in a city.

If you are concerned about dust in your home or apartment, call us at (800) 392.6468 to discuss your situation. We’ll tailor our test to your specific needs and environment.

Protect your health!

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Healthy Home Lead

Lead Paint Warning: Most Homes in NY Metro Area Built Before 1978

Lead Paint Warning: Most Homes in NY Metro Area Built Before 1978

Risks from Lead Paint And Contaminated Lead Dust Abound

lead paint older homesApproximately 80 percent of homes in the New York Metropolitan area were built before 1978, according to U.S. Census figures. This means that you should be aware that particles from lead paint, which was commonly used in homes before 1978, still pose a health risk throughout the region.