Leaded or Unleaded

Jul 24, 2015 | Posted in Blog

I was born in the early 70’s.

As such, I remember pumping gas for my parents’ cars when we went to the gas station. Back then, you always had to choose between leaded or unleaded gasoline. As a child, while I remember choosing between the two types of gasoline, I never gave much thought to lead and its effect of people.

It was not until a few years ago when I was working in social services that I learned about the far reaching implications of lead. To be specific, I learned of the dangers of lead paint in homes. I was stunned to learn that most houses in the City of Erie at some point had were painted with lead paint. I learned, leaded paint posed some very serious health risks to children under six years of age, especially babies who tend to put everything in their mouths. There is plenty of research that indicates that long term exposure to lead paint can lead to significant developmental delays. Women who are pregnant or nursing are also at a special risk.

Do you live in a home that was built before 1978? If you do, chances are that your house has lead paint somewhere. I live in the City of Erie and my house is over 100 years old. And, yes, shortly after we bought it we tested it for lead. We were disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that it had lead paint on doors, window sills and other areas of the house. Thankfully, it was not in large quantities. My wife and I received information on how to minimize the exposure and got our house ready by the time we had our son.

Have you had your house checked?

Just this summer, I decided to have our soil tested because my wife usually grows a vegetable garden. Again, we received a report that indicates that there is lead present. Fortunately, the information we received tells us what to add to the soil to neutralize it but also recommended a raised vegetable garden as a safer option.

Did you know that here at St. Martin Center Inc., in partnership with City of Erie Redevelopment Authority, we have a Lead-Based Paint Outreach program. We have two trained specialists, Cindy Strohmeyer and Luanne Martino, who educate the public on the risks associated with lead-based paint. They can also test your home for lead-based paint and conduct cleaning demonstrations to minimize exposure. Through our partnership with the City of Erie Redevelopment Authority, city residents can qualify for certain home renovations and/or repairs.

Please feel free to call Cindy or Luanne at 814-462-6113 at St. Martin Center, Inc. to find out whether your home has lead paint. You can also email them at or