Defra: lead still a real and present danger in old paint

As millions of Britons use the summer months to crack on with their DIY Defra has issued a warning reminding people to take care with old paint that might contain lead.

The department has issued a leaflet reminding people that when re-decorating older homes, particularly those built before the 1960s, householders should be aware that any remaining old paint could well contain lead and should be handled with care.

The leaflet is being made available at DIY outlets, doctors surgeries and ante-natal clinics to advise new, and prospective, parents on the need for special care when removing old paint from the nursery, and other rooms in the house.

A copy is also available on the Defra website.

Lead is harmful to everyone but is particularly dangerous to babies and young children as it can hinder the development of their nervous system and cuase brain damage.

If paintwork is in good condition, it can be painted over with no problems, says the leaflet.

But if the paintwork is in bad condition it might be best to remove it, although special care must be taken to ensure that any paint dust or fumes created are not inhaled or ingested, especially by children.

Lord Bach, Minister with responsibility for chemicals, said: “This leaflet is being re-issued now as summer is a time when many people take the opportunity to decorate.

“And many new parents often repaint when converting a room to a nursery.

“The leaflet explains simple actions to ensure that children are protected from inhaling any lead dust when their house is redecorated.”

By Sam Bond

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