Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil

  • Repair chipping paint, especially old paint. "If you live in an older home (pre-1978), and you have chipping peeling or flaking, you want to repair that safely," she said. That means not dry scraping but wet scraping -- and probably getting professional advice if you decide to do it yourself.
  • Know that a little lead can go a long way. "A lead chip the size of a nickel, if broken down, could contaminate a 3,000-square-foot house," Norton said.
  • Minimize exposure, especially if you live in an older neighborhood that's likely to have lead in the soil. "Leave your shoes at the door," she said. "Have a welcome mat you can wash off."
  • More information

    Find out more about lead poisoning at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    SOURCES: Gabriel Filippelli, Ph.D., professor and department chair, earth sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Ruth Ann Norton, executive director, Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Baltimore; August 2008, Applied Geochemistry

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