Even though lead has significant detrimental effects on human health, people used it abundantly in the past. Lead paint had many benefits such as preventing mildew or mold from growing due to its toxicity. Lead based paint also did not rust or corrode as easily as other paints. However, once people understood how dangerous this paint was, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of it in 1977. But since lead paint already covered many buildings and homes by the time the ban was enacted, it is still a major problem today.
The City of Syracuse, NY and the surrounding county is one of the few areas where lead paint in homes remains largely unchecked. LeadSafe LLC is a local, private business for professional lead testing and consulting.
When asked about the current situation dealing with this element in Syracuse, operations coordinator of LeadSafe LLC Patrick E. Strodel stated that, “We live in lead central.” Strodel estimated that more than 90% of buildings in Syracuse still have traces of lead within them.
The fact so much has gone unchecked is astounding, especially with how harmful the substance is. Lead negatively impacts multiple systems in the body such as the nervous and reproductive. Long time exposure can result in kidney failure. The symptoms associated with lead poisoning don’t appear until extensive damage is done to the body and are often misdiagnosed due to their similarities to other diseases.
Children are much more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. Lead exposure in children can cause serious developmental problems such as lowered I.Q. and behavioral deficiencies. Strodel recalled dealing with a case of lead poisoning in a four year old girl who wasn’t even able to speak. “In short,” Strodel said, “this is devastating to children.”
Home and building owners can easily avoid lead poisoning by properly testing for lead and renovating. Private businesses such as Strodel’s provide lead assessments for an average fee of $400 to $800. This may
seem a high cost for such a procedure, but these businesses use the most advanced technology and least invasive methods to accurately test a home. One tool experts use for lead assessments is an XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) spectrometer, which emits a ray to examine the specific elements within a wall and the florescence they emit – similar to identifying a finger print. This saves them from having to chip or deteriorate the paint ,which could cause the contamination to spread. Experts will also test the lead concentration in dust
and soil samples from around the property.
The federal government provides free lead testing and renovating through programs based on specific qualifications of the inhabitants of a building. The major qualification for this federal program is that a child
five years or younger must be occupying the home. Syracuse was granted one of these programs and was funded 2.8 million dollars to help local families without the means to pay for an assessment themselves. LeadSafe LLC exhibited their commitment to solving this problem by providing training to the federal lead
Strodel emphasized that this issue is easily preventable with proper funding and awareness. His business and personal goal is that children should not have to suffer from lead poisoning any longer.
To see if you qualify for a federally funded lead risk assessment, visit the program’s website.
City of Syracuse Lead Hazard Control Program
For Privately Owned testing, visit LeadSafe’s website.
LeadSafe LLC Professional Lead Testing and Consulting
Make sure to get your home checked! Prevent the easily preventable!