Time to get the LED out. Lead is all over New York City, and it doesn't really become a concern (or an interest) until you have children. And then it is a big concern. According to the EPA, "Lead is a highly toxic element. Exposure to lead can result in damage to the brain, kidneys, blood, central nervous system and reproductive system..."
...Children are particularly sensitive to the chronic effects of lead, with slowed cognitive development, reduced growth and other effects." Exposure can come through old paint, petroleum, dust on window sills, and soil. The first step towards protecting yourself is to test your apartment, and Chauncey Sage has been highly recommend to us.
He can test and also give you clear instructions for how to deal with any lead exposure that he finds. Location and size determine fees, which start at $400 for a 2,000 sq foot apartment in Manhattan.
Cleaning, sealing holes in walls, not taking down walls, and full scale removal are all options. And, I forgot to mention, buying a new apartment is another.
This is his pitch:
Certified Lead Paint Inspector &
US EPA Certified
The Lead and Environmental Hazard Association
Using the LPA-1 XRF Spectrum Analyzer,
Capable of accurate readings in 2-4 seconds,
NO SCRAPING PAINT
OFF WOODWORK OR WALLS.
(ReEdited from 2004-04-13 - MGR)