Taking Care of Lead Paint…on the Floor

We’ve been going a little crazy over here, because we found out at Little Guy’s one-year checkup that his lead level was at a 5, which is slightly over the “normal” 1-4 range. After buying a bunch of tests and going over the whole built-in-1892 house, we discovered that the FLOOR was painted, of all things. (“Didn’t you notice?” You may ask. Much of the lead paint looked like a dark stain instead of paint, so no). Probably some lead dust from the aging paint got onto his toys and hands and subsequently into his mouth.

What to do? Well, we called the health department and they said that the key is to paint over the lead paint – taking care that you do not sand it, of course. Hadlock’s, our area’s best paint store, gave us the optimum product for the job. It stinks to high heaven, though, so I’ve been getting out of the house as much as possible. Once the stink finally goes away (Hadlock’s said to let it cure for 2-3 weeks), we are going to have wall-to-wall carpet installed. Our bank accounts are suffering big time, but our kids’ health is paramount.

Was your home built before 1970? If it is, you may want to buy lead test kits and test the paint. Better safe than sorry! They cost about $10 for 2 at our local hardware store. If you find lead paint, here is what the health department says to do:

1) Keep it clean with damp paper towels and dispose of them immediately. Lead dust can accumulate, and dry-dusting will spread the particles.

2) Use only a HEPA-filter vacuum on the floor if it is lead paint.

3) Paint over it – two coats are better than one. Never sand lead paint! 

4) Keep the paint in good condition. Repaint whenever it starts to look worn.

All this fuss also means that we are all back in our cozy little guest room that we used while we were remodeling the upper floor…all. four. of. us. Bllaaaaarrrrrgh. All of our bedroom furniture (except for the crib) is also in one of the bedrooms upstairs. So, with how poor of sleepers our kids are, the nights have been a game of “whack-a-mole” trying to get each waking kid to go back to sleep before waking the other one. As my mother always says, “it’s always something.”

Do you ever feel like you take one step forward and two steps back?



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