Understanding the Threat from Lead-Based Paint (And the Protection)

Lead has long been a source of concern for people worldwide because it is a toxic substance that can have adverse health effects. Its presence and extensive usage in the past for commodities like paints, pipes, and gasoline has invited utter scrutiny, and rightly so. Unfortunately, lead use in several applications in the past has left behind lingering effects. It’s important to understand this impact and plan for mitigating against it.

According to a report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, about 22% of the homes in the country are exposed to lead-based paint hazards. The report emphasizes how even a small amount of lead exposure is harmful to children’s brain and body development.

Lead was discovered in high concentrations in children sometime in the 1970s, and once the problem was identified, the US government brought forward a number of prohibitory acts. The Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Act came in 1971, prohibiting the use of lead-based paint in federally funded projects. Many recalls were issued in 2007 and 2008 to remove lead-based toys and paint from the market in order to protect children’s health. 

When lead enters the human body, it causes cardiovascular, reproductive, neurological, and other problems. This is why it was completely banned from being used in any product used by children, like toys, in which it was used for outer coating or painting. The prohibition only applied to residential and personal use items. Lead-based paints and coatings are still used in industries, agriculture, and art coatings, among other things.

Why Was the Coating Done at All if Lead Is Such a Hazardous Material?

The answer lies in lead’s ability to provide durability to surfaces and an innate quality to resist corrosion. However, with the passage of time, companies have adopted a series of sustainable and safe products. Eco-friendly and powder coatings are now being used as a replacement for lead-based paints to ensure a safe working environment for all. Many more advancements have been taking place to bring in more safe and green products with no toxic traits.

The risks and liabilities associated with owning a lead-based painted home or building are numerous. However, there are many ways to protect oneself from financial, medical, or reputational harm. 

Let’s look at the various insurance policies available to reduce the risk of exposure to lead-based coatings and dust from lead-painted homes.

Insurance Recommendation to Ease the Threat

Liability Coverage

Lead liability insurance is one of the most critical insurance policies for avoiding financial harm caused by lead-based toxicity. This type of coverage is obtained by homeowners who have rented a property with a lead-based painting foundation. If a tenant is exposed to lead used in painting and becomes ill, they can be compensated with the help of this liability coverage. 

Annual coverage begins from around $1,500 and can increase depending on several factors. Previous liability claims, environmental impact claims, property age, and so on are some examples of such factors contributing to the overall premium cost.

Health Insurance

If you own an old building with lead-based paint, you should get health insurance right away. Any lead-based dust or flakes that come into regular contact with an individual are hazardous. General issues such as vomiting and constipation can persist in an individual, and some serious consequences, such as renal failure or low development in children, can be seen over time. 

Health insurance may be the best option for covering the costs of medical emergencies or chronic diseases. However, premiums may differ based on the health risk that the establishment poses.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy allowing businesses to compensate employees in an accident at a lead-based workplace. If the person becomes ill as a result of working in and around lead flakes or dust, the business owner is obligated to pay for medical expenses and other compensation requested. Thus, for all-around protection, workers’ compensation is ideal for business owners operating in lead-painted buildings.

How To Proceed?

Aside from insurance, homeowners can take precautions to avoid encountering lead dust or flakes. They can even try to remove the lead paint or coating to live in a more holistically healthy environment.

All homeowners, landlords, and business owners who use a lead-painted building must have a risk assessment performed to determine how much damage the building can cause and in what capacity. A thorough portfolio analysis is a great place to start, but it can only be accomplished with the assistance of an experienced insurance provider. 

At Gonzalez Insurance, we provide portfolio analysis and a customized quote based on the risk assessment results. Get in touch with us to learn more.