Lead is, no doubt, a naturally occurring metal that’s found in the earth’s crusts. It has a lot of industrial benefits, one of them is that it can be used in the production of batteries and metal mixtures. As essential as lead is, you need to understand that it also has its issues.
Yes, lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal, which could cause tons of environmental and health issues, especially to children. Some of the health problems include weight loss, sluggishness, abdominal cramps, and vomiting in children. Well, the way to prevent your kids from getting in contact with lead particles is by using a HEPA air purifier.
What exactly are HEPA air purifiers and how effective are they to prevent lead dust? How can you protect against lead dust? How exactly can lead be removed from the air? These and more are the frequently asked questions that you’ll get answers to as you read through the rest of this article.
How can you protect against lead poisoning?
There are several different ways that you can follow to protect yourself and others against lead poisoning. However, before I proceed to share with you the list of some of them, let me start by talking about what lead poisoning is all about, including how dangerous it is. This way, you’ll better understand why it’s important to do everything you can to prevent the lead-related issue.
So, what exactly is lead poisoning?
Here’s what you need to know about lead poisoning
Some laws were established in the 1970s in the United States to get people aware of the risks and dangers attached to getting exposed to lead particles. Even with that, reports still have it that several people, most especially children, still suffer from this issue.
For you to prevent yourself and your kids from getting affected by lead poisoning, it’s important to understand exactly what it is and how people can get exposed to it.
That said; the first thing you need to know about “lead” is that it’s a naturally occurring toxic metal that’s widely in use today. Lead is used to make batteries. Apart from that, it’s also utilized for the production of metal mixtures, including pipes, vinyl mini-blinds, dishware, leaded crystal, and pottery coatings.
Furthermore, lead can be used in the industry for making sheathing cables, bullets, and lead accumulators. That’s not all; lead can also be taken advantage of as a shield against X-rays and radioactive radiation.
Unfortunately, lead also has its drawbacks, which could be far more dangerous and health challenging for people, most especially young children.
One of the drawbacks of the wide usage of lead is that it could cause lead poisoning, which is a result of the gradual accumulation of lead in body tissues. Of course, this issue is caused by the continuous exposure of the body to lead particles or dust.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the accumulation of lead in the body could interfere with most, if not all, of the children’s body organs, such as the kidneys and central nervous system. Yes, too much lead accumulation in the body could cause kidney and brain damages, slowed development, learning issues, lowered IQ, hearing loss, and restlessness.
Here’s how to protect against lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is caused by a lot of things. One of the most common causes is children’s toys. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that it’s all toys that cause lead poisoning. Instead, what I’m trying to say is that some of them, especially the imported and antique toys usually contain lead.
Unfortunately, the exposure of the children’s bodies to these lead-based toys can cause a series of health issues, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Apart from children’s toys, other things that could cause lead poisoning are lead plumbing, lead-contaminated dirt, leaded crystal decanters, painted ceramic, and lead-based paint. Furthermore, the body can be exposed to lead dust or particles through different channels, including the lungs and stomach.
That said, for you to protect yourself and your family against lead poisoning, here are some of the things that you need to do below:
- First, you need to avoid buying or using lead-based paint in your home. No doubt, laws were created in the US in 1978 to stop the use of lead for producing paints. Even at that, some companies still use lead up till today.
- According to experts, damaged paints are one of the major causes of lead dust. To prevent it, ensure to check for cracked or peeled paint around your home. If there’s any, the best you can do is to vacuum your space using a vacuum cleaner alongside a HEPA filter.
- You never can tell if the spread of lead particles around your home has been removed completely. As such, you need to avoid using dry sandpaper, propane torch, heat gun, and dry scraper.
- Wash your children’s hands from time to time; you never can tell where they have touched.
- Stay away from buying lead-based toys, especially imported items. Also, stay away from toys in the recall list; this includes checking here regularly.
- Lastly, you can also consider using a HEPA air purifier, especially if you’re renovating your home (containing lead-based paint).
How exactly can lead be removed from the air?
Several different factors contribute to how lead gets into the air. One of them, especially at the national level, is through the processing of ore and metals. Apart from that, other common causes of lead (in the air) are waste incinerators and the production of lead-based batteries.
One of the best ways to remove lead from the air is by using a vacuum cleaner, such as the High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (HEPA) vacuum. One of the most interesting features of this vacuum cleaner is that it comes with a special filter. HEPA filters are designed to pick and hold particles of lead.
Lead particles can also be removed from the air, industrially, by using a wet scrubber. This method is expensive and usually utilized in manufacturing companies.
Do air purifiers work for lead dust?
Home air purifiers are designed to perform several different functions. One of them is that they help to eliminate indoor air pollutants. These products work by sanitizing the air, removing pollutants, as well as allergens and toxins.
You need to understand that air purifiers are different from air filters. While the filters only work on dust and lead particles, air purifiers remove and sanitize lead particles in the air.
Furthermore, you need to understand that there are several different air purifiers out there. How effective these products are, depends, to a large extent, on the type you’re opting for.
For instance, some of these products, such as the HEPA air purifier, come with an air filter. You’ll certainly find these products more effective than those without filters. Here’s why; the addition of a filter is to help filter out and trap lead dust inside the air. After filtration, the air purifier, itself, will finish up the process by sanitizing the trapped particles.
As for air purifiers without a filter; they mostly work by neutralizing lead particles in the air. Unfortunately, this approach isn’t 100 percent effective.
That’s not all; there are also negative ions emitting air purifiers. These products work by attracting only the positive ion lead particles in the air. After that, the ions will end up being neutralized and rendered inactive. Although this method is effective, the only issue is that it could cause ozone emissions.
That said, the bottom line is that air purifiers, especially the ones with an air filter, are certainly effective for eliminating lead dust.
Do HEPA filters filter out lead dust?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA vacuums are vacuum cleaners, which are designed with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The HEPA filter helps to filter out the unwanted lead particles around your home.
Regarding the question of whether HEPA filters help to filter out lead dust, the simple and direct answer is yes. The filters, as stated by EPA in 40 CFR 745.83, are capable of trapping particles of about 0.3 microns. In addition to that; the agency also mentioned that HEPA filters have about 99.97% efficiency.
That said, the bottom line is that HEPA filters are effective at filtering out lead dust from the air around your home.
Since the products aren’t 100% effective, I’ll advise that you also consider using other methods, such as wiping down contaminated surfaces with a wet cloth. This way, you can always remove the little particles that escaped during the HEPA filtration process.