Lead poisoning is insidious; it is often undetectable until a large amount has accumulated, which is when it's the most dangerous. So, preventative precautions are imperative when dealing with lead. Anyone who has worked on a construction site might be familiar with the risk of ingesting airborne lead particles, most commonly through the lungs, or skin pores. Lead is a pervasive poison; it contaminates virtually the whole body; the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, reproductive system, hematological system, and kidneys. In the most extreme cases, lead poisoning can result in death. It must feel like the corrosion of one's body and mind with symptoms like joint and muscle pain, headaches, abdominal pain, decadence of memory and/or concentration, mood disorders and more. Not only is lead dangerous to the workers themselves, it can be harmful to their family as well. Therefore, it is critical for employers to provide their workers with lead contamination and containment safety education. Here is a link to the EPA website to locate an RRP training class or provider in your area.
Lead poisoning is most common in construction, plumbing, welding, and painting, among others. It often comes in mists, fumes, and dust, in which case it's inhaled through the lungs. Ensuing ingestion, the lead enters the blood stream, and is stored in vital organs and bodily tissues. Some of the lead exits the body after a day or two, but some remains trapped in the body. So, repetitive exposure results in accumulation of lead, which, in turn, leads to severe sickness.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, helps reduce and prevent lead poisoning by "promoting the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards" of the workplace environment. OSHA establishes a PEL (permissible exposure limit) of 50 micro-grams per cubic meter of air over a span of eight hours. If the employee's lead exposure exceeds the standard, the employer is, at minimum, required to: provide exposure assessment, medical surveillance, job-specific compliance programs, engineering and work practice controls, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment, housekeeping, lead-related hygiene facilities and practices, hazard signs, employee information and training, and record-keeping. The most preventative method that one can practice is covering every inch of the body. That means wearing a respirator, goggles or full facial shield, full body coveralls, gloves, boots and something to conceal the head.
The lead paint movement is gaining traction in a positive way: Detroit demolition project.
Detroit is a city on a mission to reinvent its old neighborhoods by demolishing 8.000 old, unsafe homes and building new ones in their place. But its ambitious demolition project is causing concerns for the people living near the homes being demolished in their neighborhoods.
City officials have touted the project as a cornerstone of the city's resurgence goals and have assured residents that the demolition project will result in safer, more desirable neighborhoods. In October of 2016, the mayor cited the rising per-house demolition costs are the result of added environmental precautions put in place by his administration and approved by the EPA.
The problem, according to the Detroit Free Press is that not all contractors involved in the demolition are following the protocol. Many are failing to properly and adequately remove debris in a timely manner, failing to notify neighbors near demolition sites of their actions, and failing to provide them with lead safety information and recommendations.
Even more troubling is that even when contractors are following those city-ordered environmental precautions to the letter, scientific studies have shown that because of the scale of the project, lead dust is still spreading and contaminating neighboring properties. Lyke Thompson, a leading advocate on lead paint contamination in the city of Detroit, agrees that getting rid of the unsafe structures is necessary, but wishes the city would come up with a way to make the project safer for the children of Detroit. Other experts say that there are few guidelines for projects of this scale, lamenting that there are more lead-paint regulations for a kitchen renovation than for the demolition of 8,000 lead paint filled houses. Some say there are far stricter regulations for the removal of asbestos in demolition projects than there are for lead paint. Some neighbors say that while they did receive notifications of when demolition of homes in their neighborhoods would begin, they received no special instructions regarding how to protect their children from lead-paint dust.
The great news is that City administrators have suspended contractors who've been caught not following safety protocol.
ECOBOND™ is the nation’s leader in developing and distributing products that improve the protection of human health and safety from the hazards of lead in the home, workplace, and the environment. With over 15 years in patented and proven success, the ECOBOND™ family of products have been extensively used in successfully treating lead hazards in over 11,000,000 tons of material while serving over 100,000 customers in the United States and Internationally.