You are about to embark on a substantial remodeling project. Perhaps you were planning on the entire family participating, or maybe you want to do this alone, or just with your spouse. Excited, you imagine the picture of the room in your head when the job is complete. You anxiously eye your supplies. The wood, nails, hammers, power tools, and the paint. Everything is here that you need to begin.
Or, is it?
Did you remember your personal protective equipment, and your game plan to avoid exposure to lead?
Though lead has not been used in paint since the late 1970s, many homes still have old paint that has either held up or been painted over without being removed. Lead is still used in some construction components, and it can fill the air with dust when agitated. Because of its properties, lead does not break down over time. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ward off lead exposure.
Lead paint was used and promoted in the United States for more than two hundred years. It was popular because it was especially durable and easy to clean. Even into the early '70s, its use was promoted for government buildings, although its use in the U.S. peaked in the 1920s. Although experts have long known that lead paint posed health risks, it wasn't until the mid-1970s that studies of children's blood levels began. Since then, the federal government has periodically lowered the acceptable levels of lead in a child's blood all the way from 60 micrograms per deciliter in 1971 down to the present-day limit of 5 micrograms per deciliter.
Many homes built before 1978 contain lead paint, and people -- especially small children -- living in those homes are vulnerable once that lead paint starts peeling or chipping, or somebody starts sanding it. Even undisturbed lead paint is always a concern because, as an example, a small child may chew the surface it's covering. Unfortunately, toddlers who are cutting teeth are prone to do exactly that! If you're living in a home built before 1978, chances are good that it contains lead paint.
But, you can enjoy peace of mind from the dangers of lead paint when you use our proven & Pptented ECOBOND® family of products; now includes Bitrex® a bitter-tasting additive to discourage oral contact!
Here are a few important items to keep in mind when you have a remodel project and have lead paint to deal with.
Removing damaged areas by sanding requires that you take certain precautions to protect your health and the health of your children: Lead dust typically isn't an ongoing problem inside of homes. However, when it's time to remodel, the lead can easily be liberated into the air. The rubbing of moving parts, such as window frames, can also turn leaded paint into dangerous lead dust. This problem, which can cause lead poisoning, is especially common with old paint. Therefore, you'll need to take steps to handle or prevent lead dust contamination if your project involves a lead-painted area. Please visit the USEPA website for further guidance before beginning a lead paint abatement project.
It is prudent to have professionals help you with risk assessment. Renovation work is especially dangerous when disturbing surfaces with lead paint and a professional should also test your home before any work begins. Also, ensure that you have a certified and trained contractor doing the job. It is not advisable to do it yourself, but if it is a simple remodeling job like door replacement, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your family from lead dust exposure.
Following are vital considerations to both avoid direct lead poisoning and to keep dust from spreading throughout the house.
It's important to remove as much from the room as you can (furnishings, rugs, decorative objects), lay heavy plastic on the floor and tape around the edges, cover any HVAC registers with plastic and seal with tape, and finally, seal off the door with heavy plastic.
Personal protective equipment includes: paper booties, a half mask respirator equipped with a P100 filter to prevent inhaling any dust while you work, safety goggles or glasses, and a disposable protective suit that blocks particles in the air. You'll also need gloves.
To keep dust out of the air, use a wet sanding method. Be sure you have a safe way to capture leaded paint slurry and other debris. Once the project is done, take all debris to a facility that handles hazardous materials. Use a spray bottle filled with water and thoroughly wet the area you're sanding, making sure that electric power is turned off if the area is near an electrical outlet. It's important to sand only by hand using a block sander. Working wet will turn the sanded material into a sludge-like material that you can wipe away using rags, and when finished sanding, discard all used sandpaper and rags in proper containers to dispose of at approved facilities for lead impacted materials.
Stay Healthy While Working: Don't Breathe Lead
If you do not take the recommended route of using our lead paint treatment to cover the impacted areas, you must make sure that lead and lead dust does not spread throughout the house. You can consider using a combination of plastic covers, or ZipWalls, and sticky mats. The ZipWalls will keep dust confined to the work area, while the mats will pull the dust off your shoes so you do not track it through the house when you are quitting for the day or taking a break.
To avoid breathing in the dust while you are working, or consuming the dust orally, wear a respirator whenever you are in the work zone, regardless of whether you are actively working at the time. Wear a protective layer of clothes that you remove at the ZipWall, so you do not shed particles when moving through the house. Also, do not bring food or beverages into the work area. When you have finished your project, do not forget to do a thorough cleanup. A big component of this is vacuuming with a HEPA cleaner that specializes in removing small particulates.
Cleaning up after working with lead paint is a bit more rigorous than a normal cleaning would be. Begin by vacuuming thoroughly with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter, then go on to cleaning. It's best to use a spray cleaner, wipe, and then rinse with spray bottle. Use a rag or paper towels and dispose of them in a 6-mil trash bag as you work. (You can cover the end of a flat edge screwdriver with a wet rag to dig into cracks to remove any dust or "sludge" that may end up there.) When you're done cleaning, remove all plastic and paper booties. Wash the clothes you were wearing separately from your other laundry, and finish by taking a shower to clean your face, body and hair.
Can lead paint be covered up safely?
This may be the easiest way to deal with lead paint. Instead of trying to get rid of it at all, if the paint isn't already flaking or turning to dust, you can cover it up with a special treatment. You can now treat lead with our Paint-it-on Leave-it-on® application or remove it rendering it non-hazardous for disposal. ECOBOND® - Lead Defender® seals and treats the lead and lead dust in lead-based paint. In the new Lead Defender formula, Bitrex® creates an added safety barrier to further protect children from lead poisoning by reducing the amount of paint chips or dust a child may ingest. Bitrex® is the bitterest substance known and is added to ECOBOND® to reduce accidental ingestion of potentially harmful materials.
Consumer Alert: Don't begin a lead paint project until you read this report. www.LeadPaintRemovalReport.com ECOBOND® - Lead Defender® seals and treats the lead and lead dust in lead-based paint -> Watch our lead paint treatment video:
ECOBOND® LLC 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.