Q: I’m repainting some rooms in my house, and some of the paint is pretty old. How concerned do I need to be about the possibility of there being lead paint?
A: You should be very concerned. Home renovators can create lead hazards without realizing it. If old paint is not handled properly, lead dust and paint chips can remain in the home long after the work is completed. Paint removal by blasting, burning, dry scraping, dry sanding and using power tools creates the most serious dangers because the particles are small enough to be inhaled or deposited in furnishings or carpet, making complete removal extremely difficult.
To learn more about how to protect yourself during renovation work, review the excellent guide produced by the Environmental Protection agency.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.