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  Older Home Hazard
 
 
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Older homes often offer homebuyers an excellent value. Many have mature trees and plantings, large rooms and interesting decorative details. In some areas, the price may even be lower than newer homes. But consumers might want to double-check for the presence of lead-based paint in homes built before 1978.
Lead-based paint, which can cause illness or even brain damage in children, was banned from residential use in 1978. Children are particularly at risk as lead-based paint flakes or dust from remodeling or even opening a window can be easily ingested. The most current studies show that the primary sources of lead are lead-based paint that is deteriorating, dust contaminated with lead and lead-contaminated soil.

Home Hazards
While lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a concern, any peeling, chipping or chalking of this kind of paint should be considered hazardous to children. Lead-based paint on any surfaces in the home that children can chew or places that receive a lot of wear and tear may also be a hazard. These areas include:
• Windows and windowsills
• Stairs and stair railings
• Porches and fences
• Door frames and doors
The plumbing found in older homes also may contain lead or lead solder. This lead is odorless and tasteless.

Testing A Home
If you want to check a home for lead-based paint, call a qualified home inspector or consult your local health department or lead-poisoning prevention office for the name of a reputable lab to test paint samples. Costs vary by region ($20-50 per sample). Keep in mind that do-it-yourself kits are available from home-improvement stores, but these kits are not always accurate.
To find out about testing your water for lead, call your local health department or water supplier.

Solving The Problem
You can temporarily reduce lead hazards in your home by taking interim actions, such as repairing damaged paint or covering soil with grass. However, to get rid of lead for good, you'll need to hire a lead abatement contractor who will remove, seal or enclose the lead-based paint found in your home. This contractor should have the special training needed to properly complete the job.
Don't try to remove the paint yourself. Scraping or sanding lead-based paint will release the harmful dust, creating further hazards. Using a heat gun on lead-based paint can release lead fumes. Keep in mind that lead dust can stay in your home long after any renovation or sanding is done. The area must be properly cleaned following any work.

Find Out More
You can get more information on the hazards of lead and how to eradicate them by contacting the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or www.epa.gov/lead/nlic.htm.

 
 
 
 How-to's On Tape
 
Check Out The Latest Home Videos
The next time you have a remodeling job to do yourself and you find it hard to go by the book, you might try following the graphic and more visual directions given on a home-improvement video.

Plenty Of Topics
Projects displayed on video include decks, bathrooms, kitchen, drywall, plumbing, framing, siding, lighting, hand and power tool handling, windows and doors, electrical work, finish carpentry, cabinets, wood flooring, ceramic tiling, exterior painting, interior painting, wallpapering-even building an entire home.

Look for these videos at your library, home center, hardware or video store. Then get your remote ready to play, pause, rewind, play-and help you successfully complete your next project.

 
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Get The Lead Out
Check Out The Latest Home Videos
Title Insurance Protects Your Assets
Should You Re-Key Your Locks?
Just Say “No” To Mosquitoes
Power Of Attorney Can Smooth Transactions
Making Sense Of The Mortgage Lending Process
Rooms That Go The Extra Mile

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