Lead Poisoning Danger – Lead Paint
A Dog Almost Dies - Chewing Painted Woodwork
One of the last jobs I did before I began my new media career was a large kitchen addition and remodeling job for my neighbor. They had a great dog that was kept in a basement room while we worked each day. The dog was fairly excitable and began to gnaw at the painted woodwork adjacent to the door of the room. Within a couple of weeks the dog was getting sick.
The neighbor mentioned the dog's illness to me and asked me what I thought. I immediately said, "I think the dog has lead poisoning." The neighbor thought I was nuts. I mentioned, "Look where the dog has been chewing on the woodwork. That is old paint that contains lead."
Well, it turns out I was right. They whisked the dog off to the vet and got blood work done. The dog's lead count was practically off the scale.
To this day, the dog has never been the same. That proves to me that lead absolutely can cause irreversible damage to the central nervous system.
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Lead + Vinegar = Sweetness
For some reason, the USA was slow to outlaw or restrict the use of lead in consumer products. A very long time ago it was discovered that if you mixed lead with vinegar that it created lead acetate. This is actually a sweetener. So, lead was used as a sweetener in wine for many years. In 1427 the use of lead as an ingredient in wine was outlawed in France and Spain. That was almost 600 years ago!
Lead has been used in paint for over 200 years. But, France began to restrict the use of lead in paint in 1840. The Germans did the same in 1870 and they were followed by the Australians in 1922. It wasn't until 1978 that the USA decided to act.
How Great is Lead Poisoning Danger?
The current estimate of residential housing units in the USA that have a significant amount of lead-based paint either inside, outside or both is nearly 57 million houses or living units. That is a huge amount of lead paint! It also represents a significant danger to those who do not know about lead hazards.
Is Scraping, Sanding, or Chipping Lead Paint Dangerous?
Yes! Do NOT scrape, sand, or chip lead paint.
If you see someone sanding, chipping or scraping old paint, tell them to stop and read up on the dangers involved with working with this material. If you have relatives who live in old houses, be sure they clean dust around windows and doors with wet paper towels. Lead dust is a real hazard, especially to small children!