Approximately 87 percent of homes that were built before 1940 were made with lead paint and about 24 percent of homes constructed from 1960 to 1977 are thought to contain lead paint. While lead paint seemed to have been gradually phasing out, in 1978 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned its use in domestic properties. This is because lead paint was found to cause serious medical concerns, such as learning disabilities and damage to internal organs including the brain, in both children and adults.
Children are at the highest risk of lead poisoning as they are prone to ingesting small paint chips or peels in older homes that are wearing down. This is why in 1991 the EPA claimed lead paint was the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” However, lead paint is also hazardous to adults and can be easily inhaled in the form of paint dust from deteriorating or worn down painted areas such as windows, doors, and ledges.