Editorial: Lead Paint vs. Lead in Water


If your living in a home built before 1978, you should be paying close attention to its paint. There is a good chance that your home has lead paint on the walls, ceilings and windows.
Even more alarming is the varnish on the window sills, frame and flooring, which can be twice as toxic as the paint itself.

Sometimes you can see it under layers and layers of new paint. If the paint isn't chipped, peeling or flaking you don't have to worry much. But peeling, chalking and damaged lead paint in homes can pose a potential health hazard. This is when you need to pay close attention to your home's paint.


Why is lead paint dangerous for you and your family?

The toxicity of lead can cause serious health problems in people who may unknowingly ingest it or inhale lead-containing dust. Deteriorating lead paint causes lead dust and paint flakes to accumulate on counter tops, window sills, floors, and most importantly on clothes, bedding and children's toys.

Moreover, lead particles can also contaminate the soil around your house.

Your kids may have a habit of putting their hands and toys into their mouth. This wouldn't be intentional, but it could be fatal for them. In fact, small children are at a risk of encountering lead poisoning by amassing dangerous amounts of lead in their bodies.

But it's just not children who could be affected by lead poisoning. Anyone living in a home with a deteriorating lead paint can be fatally affected by continuous exposure to lead. But children are at an increased risk because their bodies absorb more lead than adult bodies do. Their nervous system and brain are more vulnerable to lead poisoning.

Even unborn babies are affected by lead present in the mother's system. It doesn't take much time for lead particles to enter the body of the fetus. Continuous exposure of the mother to lead can cause premature delivery, and affects the body weight and nervous system of the newborn baby.


How to protect your family from lead poisoning?

However, you can take a few measures to protect yourself and your family from lead poisoning:

Ensure your home's paint is in good condition always, and remove dust regularly with a damp disposable paper towel.
Clean your windows and window sills, railings, stairs, doors and frames, porches and banisters regularly so that lead doesn't accumulate on them. Wet mop floors regularly to control dust.
Vacuum clean your upholstery and carpets so that lead-contaminated dust doesn't collect on them if your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
Take help of a lead professional to test the soil around your house.
Frequently wash your and your kids' hands so that they don't ingest lead-contaminated objects. Get your blood tested regularly so that you can take remedial actions on time if necessary.

It is therefore recommended that you keep your home's paint under check, and call for professional help when you see it scraping or peeling off. Taking simple precautionary measures can save you and your family from this life-threatening situation.


“Lead in the water hysteria” is being greatly overblown.

Lead water pipes in Milwaukee have been around for hundreds of years and are still conducting water today to thousands of households.

What makes them safe for potable water is the pipes’ interior is completely coated with rust, corrosion, calcium and iron and minerals, which actually insulate the water from the lead pipe itself.

As a Certified Lead Risk Assessor with the State of Wisconsin, Department of Health Services; I’ve been on countless U.B.L. (elevated blood level) investigations and all of them had to do with lead paint in the homes, not lead in the water.

I’ve lived in 1920’s built homes with “lead” water mains all my life and continue to live in one now. I recently tested my water for “lead” and the test came back (00.0030 PPB), not a concern. It isn’t until lead reaches 10.00 – 15.00 PPB level in water when it becomes a concern.

I also had my blood tested for “lead” and again the tests came back (Level 3) or Normal! It isn’t until Levels 10 or greater when one should be concerned.

Before the City of Milwaukee recklessly starts spending hundreds of thousands of dollars it doesn’t have on replacing all water mains, may I suggest first, testing the water for lead, which only costs $30.00.

Lastly, test the occupants of suspect homes for lead in the blood, again only $30.00. If the tests come back positive, I can assure you it’s because of the conditions inside the dwelling; such as peeling paint, paint dust, chipping and flaking paint, and deteriorated and poorly maintained varnished surfaces.

John V. Wantz, CMI, CFI, CLRA, CAII.

Church Home Inspection Services, LLC.

Certified Lead (Pb) Company

WI. Dept. of Health Services

Certification # DHS-1859980

Certified Asbestos Company

WI. Dept. of Health Services

Certification # CAP-1859980


John V. Wantz, CMI, CFI, CLRA, CAI.

InterNACHI Certified Master Inspector®

International Association of
Certified Home Inspectors

State of Wisconsin Certified Lead Risk Assessor #DHS105095

Certified Asbestos Inspector
#DHS 105095

FHA/HUD Inspector #N297

State of Wisconsin
Licensed Home Inspector #176-106

State of Wisconsin
Certified Building Inspector

U.D.C. New Construction #72180

State of Wisconsin
Certified Rental Weatherization

Compliance Inspector #72180

Certified Fire Inspector #CFI-11-004

National Fire Protection Association








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