Lead is especially dangerous for children when it starts peeling. Curious children might put the flakes into their mouths, and since their brains and nervous system are still developing, the damage can be quite extensive. You will recognize lead paint when it starts peeling. It has a snakeskin-like pattern that is very distinctive. To check if you have lead pipes, you can try scratching them with a knife or some other hard item. Lead pipes scratch much easier than other metals.