[Parentsgroup-list] dealing with lead

Emily Qazilbash qazilbem at gse.harvard.edu
Thu Nov 29 06:40:03 EST 2007


Hi all -

When our daughter was born at the end of 2003, we deleaded the place we were living in (with great 
expense, and creating great chaos for a number of weeks). When we mentioned it to our 
pediatrician, who we love and who has always been on the "cautious" side of things, he said that 
if we had asked him and we hadn't had peeling paint around the windows (which we hadn't) he would 
have recommended that we don't bother.

I know the dangers of lead are real (and the stuff in our dirt worries me even more) and of 
course, if I could choose I would choose a de-leaded home. I would also definitely encourage 
people to take advantage of city resources to have your place looked at. But on the list of things 
to worry about, perhaps a well-maintained but non-deleaded home is OK? Or perhaps discussing this 
subject with your pediatrician would be a good idea.

Just my two cents,
Emily


On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 00:01:35 -0500
  Alexander Van Zandt Akin <akin at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> It was also our experience that the city helped, although in our case they made
> the landlord pay for the test. There is a great resource for families in
> Cambridge that I've attached near the end of this e-mail. A word of caution: in
> Cambridge many, if not most, apartments have lead paint, and it is not AT ALL
> unusual for the landlord to lie about it. Even among the listings of off-campus
> housing at Harvard, the university makes no effort to check if the "deleaded"
> places have really been deleaded. Having "Uncle Jim" do an amateur deleading
> job actually makes the problem worse, as the sanding, etc. releases lots of
> lead dust, but in my experience all of the places we checked out from Harvard's
> listings had been amateur deleading jobs. The only way to know for sure is to
> have the apartment (not some other apartment in the same building) tested. Our
> former landlord at 16-19 Forest Street systematically tries to pass off the
> same decade-old lead test results for one deleaded apartment to every family
> that moves in. When we had our room tested, we found that there were all kinds
> of problems, especially from the window dust someone mentioned in an earlier
> e-mail. Eventually it snowballed into a disaster where we had to hire a lawyer,
> etc. to force the landlord to act. But in Cambridge the city government is
> really on your side, and the landlord ended up paying over $10,000 for
> professional deleading, without our rent rising. (Of course, that meant they
> could charge double the rent after we moved out, because professionally
> deleaded apartments are so rare there!)
>  For help in Cambridge, you can contact the Lead Safe Cambridge office. They
> were extremely helpful in our case. Here is the website:
> http://www.ci.cambridge.ma.us/CDD/lead/index.html
>   Good luck!
> -Alexander Akin
> 
> 
> 
> Quoting Ann Ishimaru <Ann_Ishimaru at gse.harvard.edu>:
> 
>> You can get the city to come and do a lead inspection for free if you
>> have a child under age six living in the home.  That does put it all "on
>> the record" in terms of your landlord, if you are in a rental, so you
>> should be aware of that when you call for it.  We had the city of
>> Arlington come and do one - we got in touch with the Arlington Board of
>> Health.  I'd guess there's a similar deal in other cities as well.
>> Ann
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> heberlein at wjh.harvard.edu wrote:
>> > Our house is not de-leaded either, and I'd been relying on testing any
>> > little paint chips/scuffs (as well as toys) with the kind of lead test
>> > kits sold at hardware stores.  However, the CPSC recently released a
>> > report showing that many such home-use lead test kits are totally
>> > unreliable, so I'm a bit stumped.  Last time I checked (this was in
>> > Philly, not here) hiring a lead inspector for a private home was something
>> > like $400.
>> >
>> > The one thing that I've heard is that a major source of lead exposure due
>> > to paint, if the paint isn't peeling, is from wooden windows-- raising and
>> > lowering them creates paint dust from the friction between the window and
>> > the frame.  So if your apartment has new windows you're in good shape--
>> > and if not, you should wipe down (with a wet cloth or paper towel) all
>> > surfaces near the window, including wet mopping the floor, frequently.
>> >
>> > Sorry not to be more useful--
>> > Andrea
>> >
>> >
>> >> My husband and infant son live in an apartment that is not de-leaded. I
>> >> was wondering if anyone
>> >> had knowledge of / experience with testing for lead in the home, the use
>> >> value of a vacuum with a
>> >> Hepa filter, or any steps that we should take.
>> >>
>> >> Thanks so much,
>> >>
>> >> Michelle
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 21:26:33 -0500
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>   wenc at fas.harvard.edu wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> Hi all--a professor is looking for a Korean speaker to be a babysitter
>> >>> for his
>> >>> daughter.
>> >>>
>> >>> --Christine
>> >>>
>> >>> --------------------------
>> >>>
>> >>>    Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 20:43:33 -0500
>> >>>    From: Hunter Gehlbach <Hunter_Gehlbach at gse.harvard.edu>
>> >>> Reply-To: Hunter Gehlbach <Hunter_Gehlbach at gse.harvard.edu>
>> >>>
>> >>> My name is Hunter Gehlbach.  I'm an assistant professor here at the
>> >>> School of Education.  My wife and I are looking to find a little bit
>> >>> of child care starting next semester for 1 (or possibly 2) days per
>> >>> week and have a strong preference to find a Korean speaker so that
>> >>> our daughter can begin to learn the language.
>> >>>
>> >>> Our daughter, Kaya, will be 7 months old in January when we would
>> >>> need this person to start.  Our home is in Arlington and is easily
>> >>> accessible by the #77 bus.
>> >>>
>> >>> ----- End forwarded message -----
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> _______________________________________________
>> >>> Parentsgroup-list mailing list
>> >>> Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
>> >>> http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
>> >>>
>> >> Michelle Forman
>> >> Doctoral Student
>> >> Harvard Graduate School of Education
>> >> formanmi at gse.harvard.edu
>> >> 774-217-1292
>> >> _______________________________________________
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>> >>
>> >>
>> >
>> >
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