If your home was built before 1960, it may have lead-based paint on indoor or outdoor surfaces. If you suspect your home has lead paint, Health Canada recommends taking a few extra precautions to protect the health of your family, especially if you have young children.
The risk to you and your children is minimal if paint is in good condition and is not on a surface that a child might chew, or that is subject to wear-and-tear. It’s best to leave the existing paint alone, paint over it, or cover it with wallpaper, wallboard or paneling.
If paint in your home is cracking, chipping, flaking or peeling, or if it is on a surface that a child might chew, or that is subject to wear-and-tear, here are some tips for safe removal:
Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps to remove paint in older homes. This can create dust and fumes that contain lead. Use a chemical paint-stripper, ideally one that is a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint-strippers contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area and always wear goggles, gloves and a good-quality breathing mask according to the instructions on the product’s label.
Learn more about keeping you and your family safe from chemicals and pollutants at canada.ca/healthy-home.