Most houses built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (commonly called lead-based paint).
Lead used in the paints manufacture made the paint very strong, extremely durable, weathered well, and adhered to most surfaces.
It was used on the interior as well as the exterior, walls, doors, siding, trim work. Even varnished floors have a lead content.
Lead-based paint becomes a problem when it is chipped, or when surfaces rub together creating a fine paint dust.
The most common sources of lead dust are wooden window sashes which naturally rub paint against paint when operated and doors that catch and rub on the frame.
The old wood surfaces should not be sanded prior to painting unless care is taken, respirators etc should be used as this sanding will produce lead paint dust.
The lead impregnated dust can pose serious health hazards, particularly to children.
Lead from lead-based paint, can get into your body by:
Putting your hands, or objects covered with lead dust in the mouth.
- Eating paint chips or soil that contains lead dust.
More information available on the CSPC site.
NOTE: Removal when done properly by a licensed contractor is generally considered cost prohibitive.