The removal of old paint can be a hassle, especially when extra caution must be exercised due to the content of lead in most of the paints before 1978; but when the structure that you're performing lead paint removal from happens to be of significant height (such as a water, transmission, or industrial tower), there are a few more considerations to be had.
Preparation and Containment
Before starting the paint removal process, every effort should be taken to protect the surrounding areas from LBP (lead-based paint) particles; this includes the soil. The Governmental Department of Health recommends laying a double layer of 6-mil plastic sheeting beneath work areas to keep contaminants from leaking into or settling on the ground. Consider the height of the structure to help you determine the extent of ground coverage needed; airborne particles should be minimized as much as possible during the removal process, but falling debris is inevitable.
Remove, or thoroughly cover any items near the work area that may lead to oral lead exposure, such as picnic tables where people touch potentially contaminated surfaces and then eat; and make sure that all your coverings are secure enough to withstand any gusts of wind.
One of the ways to remove old paint is by dry abrasive blasting, but when lead is involved (especially at a high altitude), this is not recommended. Dry abrasive blasting, grinding and extensive dry scraping and dry sanding is very dangerous, and is even prohibited in some instances because of the dust it creates. Lead-based paint particulate has the potential to drift through the air and be inhaled by workers or other passers-by. When the worksite is near residential zones, schools, or other high-traffic areas, it is all the more important to use a method that produces the least amount of dust possible; this is primarily for the safety of all involved (lead poisoning can cause brain, nerve, and digestive damage), and also for your legal protection. The EPA has been handing out some hefty fines for careless removal of lead paint as recently reported by the EPA about the HGTV show with Magnolia Homes for Alleged Lead Paint Violations During Renovations Depicted on the Fixer Upper Television Show
Although wet blasting methods and gel strippers minimize dust, it creates a lot of debris that is difficult to clean up and dispose of without contaminating the worksite. Liquids can easily seep into the soil and poison water sources despite attempts to protect the area.
The final collection of waste and debris must be done in compliance with federal, state, and local laws; and a state certified lead-based paint risk assessor or inspector may need to come inspect the work area to ensure that the soil and nearby water sources have not been negatively affected. The best decision is to make yourself aware of the local regulations before starting the project so that you can conduct the work safely and effectively.
The EPA offers a program (RRP) for those who wish to be officially certified in lead paint removal.
Considering the above-mentioned potential adverse effects, companies dealing with lead paint on high structures should always remain within the OSHA standard (29 CFR 1926.62) which states that the allowed exposure limit is fifty micrograms per cubic meter of air measured as an eight-hour weighted average. The management must also ensure that the workers are using protective gear when there is any possibility that the work may involve exposure to lead dust.
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Prior to blasting or scraping, use ECOBOND®. We have a strong emphasis on our TCLP results which is tested using EPA-approved test methods. ECOBOND® - Lead Defender® seals and treats the lead and lead dust in lead-based paint.