You may know that replacing windows boosts a home’s energy efficiency, but new models can also be better for your health. If your home was built prior to 1978, your current windows are likely finished with lead-based paint and exposing your family to harm on a daily basis.
Research has shown that the everyday routine of opening and closing old windows creates friction that releases microscopic lead dust into the air. Lead exposure is dangerous for people of all ages, but especially for the youngest members of your family, who may ingest airborne lead dust as well as particles that land on nearby surfaces where they crawl and play. Lead then travels through the bloodstream to a child’s developing brain, where it can cause serious neurobehavioral damage.
Possible lead exposure calls for heightened caution during the window replacement process, but it’s a project that can be done safely with the right help and expertise. Start by contacting a window installation professional trained and certified in lead-safe work practices. They’ll determine if there is lead-based paint on or near your windows before the window replacement process begins. If there is, the contractor will stabilize any significantly deteriorated paint and thoroughly remove lead-contaminated dust during and after window installation. Wipe tests after cleanup also confirm the absence of lead dust.
For more information on lead-safe renovation practices and other ways to avoid lead exposure in the home, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/lead .