Lead paint contains lead, a metal that is known to be very toxic to humans and animals. When lead is ingested it can cause lead poisoning, which may result in a number of health problems, including internal organ and brain damage, seizures, unconsciousness, and, in high doses, death. Lead poisoning via lead paint is most well-known for its impacts upon children who are known to have suffered from learning disabilities and severe behavioral problems following lead exposure.
When paint gets old it begins to crack and chip, then fall to the floor surfaces of your home where children and animals may be prone to ingesting it. In the case of lead paint, this can result in lead poisoning. Lead paint is also inadvertently inhaled in the form of paint dust when old lead paint in doorways or window frames is disrupted through normal household use. For these reasons it’s a good idea to have your home checked for lead paint so that you can take precautions to safeguard your health and that of your family.
Lead was originally included in paint because it acted as a pigment to create desired colors. It also decreased the time for the paint to dry and made the paint more durable and weather-resistant. Unfortunately, whoever made paint in the early and mid-20th century didn’t think about the potential hazards of using a toxic heavy metal in household applications. Or perhaps they knew about it and lacked the ethics to not include it from paint. Either way, in 1978 the EPA banned the use of lead in paint; though many homes built before that time still contain this toxic substance.