Before You Buy a Home in Corpus Christi: Know the Risks of Lead Based Paint


Know the Risks of Lead-Based Paint

2012 was an amazing year for our family. We had two healthy young boys and I was expecting our third child (our surprise daughter!), and we bought our first fixer-upper starter home: a 1955 ranch style home in a wonderful old neighborhood with a great school within walking distance. Our daughter was born that summer and she was growing and thriving. Life was sweet. 2013 on the other hand, became not-so-affectionately known as the year of the “lead-based paint” ordeal. You may have never thought about the risks of lead-based paint in your home. Maybe you’re considering buying your first home. But before you buy a home in Corpus Christi, you should know the risks of lead-based paint, especially if you have young children in your home.

The Risks of Lead Exposure

Lead is toxic for humans. No amount is safe. Lead is especially toxic to little growing bodies that are still developing. Babies and toddlers stick their hands and anything they can into their mouths. Since lead exposure often happens through lead dust particles that can be spread around a home from something as simple as opening a door or window, every time a toddler puts their hands in their mouth, they may be ingesting lead. Even moderate lead exposure can lead to a whole host of physical and even mental health problems including abdominal pain, headaches, behavioral issues, ADHD or aggressive behavior, and sleep problems, among other things. Severe lead exposure can even be fatal.

The bodies of babies and toddlers also need healthy amounts of iron. Lead exposure prevents them from being able to absorb iron, which can lead to anemia.

Why it can be Hard to Know if a Home You’re Buying Has Lead-Based Paint

You might say, “Well why would anyone buy a home with lead-based paint?!” But it’s not that simple. If your home was built before 1978, there is a very good chance that it has lead-based paint, even if you had it inspected or were given paperwork that says there isn’t any lead-based paint.

When we bought our home we were of course given all the disclosures and paperwork that everyone gets. We were responsible future homeowners and we read them all. If you’ve never bought a home before, one of the pieces of paperwork that you get is called a “seller’s disclosure.” Basically it means that the seller of the home has to tell you about any known problems that the home has. One of the checkboxes is in regards to lead-based paint. If the owner knows there is lead-based paint (or LBP for short), they have to tell you about it. The previous owner of our home said they did not know of lead-based paint, which may very well have been true. It’s possible they did not know or care to find out if the home had LBP. You also get a separate form whenever your house was built before 1978 telling you that your home may have lead-based paint and that you should test for it. This is what this form looks like. 

The Limits of a Home Inspection

One thing you should know is that even if you get a home inspection, an inspection does not check for lead-based paint. Many people assume that if no one tells them that their home has lead-based paint, that means it doesn’t have it. But think about it this way: the only way someone would know for sure that their home had lead-based paint was to have painted with it themselves (and the use of it was outlawed 40+ years ago), or they had to have had some reason to test for it themselves, and most people don’t think or worry about it unless they have some health issues come up.

Before you buy a home in Corpus Christi you should know your risk of lead-based paint. One of the things you can do is to purchase these lead-based paint testers at any home improvement store. We bought some and used them on a few random areas around the house (spoiler alert: we tested all the wrong areas). We rubbed them on some wood paneling and under a cabinet and some other random places. All came back negative and I breathed a sigh of relief. We closed on the house in May of 2012, blissfully unaware of the ordeal to come. To Be Continued……