An Omaha organization is trying to use a new way to draw attention to an old problem in Omaha: lead paint contamination in the house.
“Watie White is a local artist craving out drawings on wood to create an image through a process called wood cut or relief printing.
“White is hoping his art work calls attention to an old problem: people in North Omaha have been dealing with lead contamination. The pictures White creates are being displayed in the Omaha Star in an attempt to call attention to the issue that, for White, is personal.”
“My own son had lead poising when we lived in D.C. until he was about a year and a half. Then we moved back to Chicago, and all his lead levels returned to normal. It was actually something in the water in D.C.” he said.
Lead was a popular ingredient in house paint for years before scientists discovered that this element—if eaten or inhaled as dust in the air—could cause a wide range of health problems, from anemia to seizures to death, particularly in children.
The federal government banned the sale of lead-based paint in 1978.
“Many painters loved lead-based paint,” says Welmoed Sisson, a Maryland-based home inspector with Inspections by Bob. It tends to be glossier, more lustrous, and it holds color better. “Once they learned the ban was going into effect, many of them stocked up on a cache of lead-based paint.”
And since the government made it illegal only to manufacture and buy the paint, using what you already had was a gray area that lasted for years. “I’ve talked to inspectors who’ve found lead-based paint in homes built in the ’90s,” says Sisson.
Bottom line: This is not something you want hanging around a home once you move in. Thankfully, there are ways to check for lead paint Contamination and get rid of it.
Federal law requires that before signing a contract to buy a house built before 1978, buyers must receive information about lead paint contamination in the house from the home seller:
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