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Home safe home.

We're thinking about rehabbing an old house. Any suggestions for making it safe for the kids?

Stephanie Ward, email

Your number one health concern with an old house is protecting kids from lead exposure--and the go to source for specific information and local referrals is the Environmental Protection Agency ( You have a lot of work ahead of you, but before the dust starts to fly ...

1. Hire a certified lead inspector to check for lead paint. It's best to go with a professional: Home lead tests aren't always reliable.

2. Test the water. Water can pick up lead from home plumbing. State testing programs vary, so call your water company for details.

3. While you're working, shut off the heating and cooling system if possible, or tape plastic over the ductwork. That's because lead dust and other nasty particles from remodeling can get into ductwork and linger for years: To stay on the safe side, have ducts professionally cleaned when renovation is complete.

4. Once you move in, keep your house healthy by encouraging family and friends to take off their shoes when they enter. The soles of shoes can track lead, pesticides, and plenty of other grimy stuff into the house. Tip: Encourage the practice by placing a storage bench near your home's primary entrance.

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Title Annotation:Your Health: MEDICAL MAILBOX; kid-friendly home remodeling
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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