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Covering Your House in Poisonous Dust
Homes built as recently as 1978 could be coated with toxic lead-based paint—which becomes easy-to-inhale lead-based paint dust when it's sanded off, sawed through or otherwise disturbed during a renovation. That's something more people will have to consider as renovations pick up, with home improvement spending seeing double-digit growth through the third quarter of this year, a new Harvard report suggests. During renovations, it's important for contractors—or DIY-ers—to follow lead-safe practices, which can include wet-sanding equipment, HEPA respirators and protective clothing. Even small quantities of lead are toxic for children and pregnant women, but higher levels can be dangerous for adults, too, leading to high blood pressure, memory loss and reproductive problems.