The most common source is lead paint. Lead carbonate [PbCO3/Pb(OH)2)] was added to paint to speed drying, improve durability, and protect the surface from corrosion. Even though the negative health impacts of leaded paint were known as far back as the early 1900s, lead in residential paint was not banned until 1978. If a building was built before 1978 and has older paint, it should be assumed to have lead paint.Children are at particular risk from lead paint because they occasionally eat paint chips (sometimes on purpose). Lead paint can have a sweet taste, and babies and toddlers will often lick or suck windowsills, crib bars, and other objects that may be coated with lead paint. Leaded dust from peeling, chipping, cracking or otherwise deteriorating lead paint will collect onto floors and other surfaces. Children touch the dust, and then put their fingers in their mouths.
Lead paint will only harm you or your family if it is peeling, flaking, or otherwise coming off of the surface.
Leaded dust from paint can be a big problem during remodeling, when lead dust can become a hazard for the whole family, but particularly children. There are many tips for safe remodeling, which guide the use of sanders, scrapers, heat guns, keeping children and pets out of work areas, and how to clean up afterwards. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for more information.