Buying or renting a home involves tons of paperwork. In the stack is an often-overlooked form — the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint, that, if not taken seriously, could ultimately spell disaster for the health of your family.
Every home seller or landlord is required to sign this form, disclosing any known information about lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards in their pre-1978-built dwelling, the year lead paint was banned. It’s the words “any known information” that creates a gray area. Home sellers and landlords might suspect there is lead-based paint in their dwellings, but have never had the home tested to find the lead hot spots. They sign the form and give it to prospective buyers or renters, who in most cases think nothing more about it.
And there lies the problem: There may be layers of non-lead based paint covering lead-based paint, endangering children, pregnant women, and pets. Anytime that paint is disturbed, poisonous lead dust can fly through the air. And it doesn’t take much: Simply opening and closing a window can disturb lead paint.
Children can sustain brain damage from lead poisoning before their sixth birthday that ensures both educational and social problems the rest of their lives.
Could this be one of the reasons so many U.S. children are failing in school, or on drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine? Many educators and doctors say yes, including Michael T. Martin, research analyst, Arizona School Boards Association, and Allan D. Lieberman, M.D., medical director, Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine in North Charleston, SC.
The disclosure statement also gives prospective buyers and renters 10 days to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint before they buy or rent the home. Such inspections will pinpoint where there is lead-based paint, important information for any future home remodeling projects. Those 10 days might just save a child from a lifetime of problems.