The Risks of Lead
Some older homes in Canada may have walls covered with lead-based paint. Chipping, peeling, or deterioration of this paint through normal wear and tear (such as paint on doors, windows, stairs, and railings) or through construction can expose you and your children to serious health hazards: lead poisoning can cause anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells) and damage the brain and nervous system.
The risk is even greater for children because they are growing and absorb lead easily. Even small amounts of dust containing lead are harmful to infants and children. Lead absorbed by the mother can also affect the health of the unborn child. At present, there is no safe level of exposure to lead.
How to tell if your house has lead-based paint
Your home is likely to contain lead-based paint if it was built before 1960. If the house was built between 1960 and 1990, the lead-based paint may have been used on the exterior. Paint used indoors may also contain lead in smaller amounts, which can still be harmful, especially to young children. Homes built after 1990 should not contain lead, because all consumer paints manufactured in Canada and the United States since that year contain virtually no lead.
If you want to know if your house has lead-based paint, you can send paint samples to a lab for analysis, or hire a contractor with the X-ray analysis device that can detect lead on painted surfaces.
If your home was built before 1950, there’s a good chance that your drinking water inlet is in lead. Although this type of hose is durable, the city of Montréal as well as several public health authorities recommend changing these hoses.
How do you know if your pipes are lead?
- The pipes are gray
- The pipes are rather flexible, it is possible to scratch it easily with a nail
- The pipes are not magnetic
- The pipes do not resonate when banged
- It is also recommended to check with your municipality to find out if the public pipe is lead.