Lead Paint and Home Values: Not a Match Mixed in Heaven

Myers Constructs lead based paint EPA RRP renovation

A recent court ruling in California has many homeowners wondering what effect the existence of lead paint in their homes will have on their future value. The judge in this case has ordered three of the country’s top paint manufacturers — NL Industries, ConAgra, and Sherwin-Williams — to pay $1.15 billion into a fund that will remediate the existence of lead paint in homes throughout the state. Experts say this decision could send these homes — labeled “public nuisances” in this case — into a downward spiral, with some far-reaching potential additional side effects, as well.

As industry professionals, we understand that there are a lot of politics at play in this case. It has been public knowledge that lead is poisonous for a very long time. Even in the 1800s — and probably earlier — people knew that dangers existed. In fact, warning labels featuring skulls and cross bones began appearing on paint cans in the early 1900s. But no governmental agency blocked the use of lead-containing products until 1978. And now — in 2014 — the government wants to go after the paint producers (and not even all of them, since many have closed shop over time). Also, this lawsuit doesn’t address other major lead sources, like glazes on tile or bathroom fixtures.

We will follow this case and the resulting fallout closely. Regardless of the final outcome, the bottom line is that improperly maintained and managed lead paint does pose a significant health issue. If you own a home built prior to 1978, hire an EPA/RRP-certified contractor to safely address any lead concerns in your home as soon as possible.

Related reading: All Eyes on New Lead Safety Laws.

Image: Editor B

Where Is the Lead?

Today I met the Certified Lead Inspector at our RDA/NSP House. Here are some photos of him and his fancy $15,000 “ray gun” in action.

His gun shoots and captures reflected X rays off the lead content inside the layers of paint to create a lead level reading for that surface. Readings are taken for each surface in every room of the house and outside the house as well. These readings are recorded in the gun, and then downloaded into our project home’s digital file.

Read more