An acquaintance is a DIY guru who did a complete remodel of a 1930’s craftsman house. Despite the fact that he keeps the work area meticulously organized and picked up, a sad set of circumstances lead to his beloved dogs faced with lead poisoning. During the preparation for painting the exterior of the house, the dogs had walked through some of the dust & debris, and subsequently digested the poisoned materials while cleaning their paws. The dogs were treated and healed – thankfully.
lead poisoning in pets – what are the symptoms
Lead poison can cause lack of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, blindness, seizures, muscle spasms, behavioral issues and many other serious problems.
it’s everywhere so manage your fear
If you’re living in a house built prior to the 1980s then you should be aware of the dangers that lurk in your walls, but, as long as the walls have been painted and go undisturbed then you’re ok. Typically, lead paint poses no danger if it’s encapsulated (painted over), and the painted surface is in solid shape and not no lead paint remnants are exposed. Lead paint was used in US households until it was completely banned in 1978, and even earlier in some states. Older homes, unless totally gutted and rebuilt, most likely all contain some lead paint somewhere so don’t freak out. You can hire a specialized company to test your walls for lead paint if you’re concerned or you just want to know.
when to worry about lead paint
Planning on knocking out a wall or repairing some cracked plaster? Or maybe you just need to sand down some old ugly texture before you give the wall a refreshing coat of paint… WAIT! If you have any reason to suspect you might have lead paint on your walls then there’s certain precautions you must consider before you get started with your project. Basically, ANY project which introduces paint sanding dust, chips, fragments, residue, and exposure to old paint surfaces must be carried out with absolute meticulous planning care. Sanding dust gets everywhere and no matter how much you prepare or try to contain the mess it usually escapes into the rest of the house. If you can, always avoid exposing the lead paint, by painting over it.
take Precautions if you do repairs
*If* you must do repairs which require disturbance of the lead paint itself, it’s all about keeping your pets safely away from the work area until the project is complete and the area has been properly cleaned. The work area is a hazardous zone until no lead paint remains exposed, all surfaces and tools have been cleaned and no old lead tainted materials are present. Make certain to mask off the work area so that dust cannot travel to the rest of the house. Don’t forget to mask off under doors and cover furnace and air registers. Don’t go in and out of the project room and track dangerous dust into safe areas. Keep your pets and family away! Remove your work clothes carefully and wash them in hot water. If you’re not comfortable taking on a project which involves the disturbance of lead paint – then call a certified and reputable professional!