If your home was built before 1978 and you still have the original windows, it’s time to seriously consider replacing your windows  --- especially if you have young children or a pregnant person living at home. During National Poison Prevention Week --- the first week of spring --- homeowners are urged to evaluate their windows and make healthy living changes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , the routine opening and closing of windows in homes built prior to 1978 can disturb lead-based paint around the windows, causing paint dust and chips to be released into the air. These lead particles are so potentially dangerous that the EPA now requires contractors to be trained and certified before they can Alt=Window replacement to avoid Lead Paint Exposureperform any renovation, repair or painting projects that may have previously applied lead-based paint . Small children who crawl on the floor where lead dust has settled are especially at risk for lead poisoning. Toddlers have a tendency to put their hands to their mouths, and if they’ve been playing on the floor near an old, lead-painted window, they could easily transfer lead dust from hand-to-mouth. Ingested lead travels through the child’s bloodstream to his developing brain, causing various types of neurobehavioral damage.
According to Rick Nevin, a consultant to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) , one of the most important long-term investments a homeowner can make for the overall safety of a family is to replace older windows, using the EPA-approved lead safe renovation guidelines. “Make sure to use only a contractor that is certified in lead-safe work practices and strongly consider the use of Energy Star qualified windows , like the vinyl replacement windows offered by Simonton ,” says Nevin.
Nevin offers up four key steps to completing a “lead-safe window replacement strategy” for the home:
· Replace all single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR  qualified windows.
· Stabilize any significantly deteriorated paint.
· Perform specialized cleaning to remove any lead-contaminated dust.
· Perform dust wipe tests to confirm the absence of lead dust hazards after the clean up.
One of the best ways to avoid lead paint  poisoning is to replace older windows in your home. Not only is it an opportunity to become more energy efficient,  but it’s a step that could preserve the health of your family.