Lead is a metal that is potentially hazardous when small particles are taken into the human body by swallowing or breathing. It can cause severe health problems, particularly to young children and women of child bearing age.
A single exposure to high concentrations of lead, such as eating lead paint flakes, can cause significantly elevated blood-lead levels. Even relatively low levels of lead in the blood can adversely affect children’s intellectual development and behaviour.
Lead paint is most likely to be found in houses built before 1970. Lead can commonly be found in:
Pink primer – used in undercoats applied to both interior and exterior timbers and as a priming coat to trowelled plaster walls, cement-rendered surfaces and as a top coat on external weatherboards
Window frames, doors, skirting boards kitchen and bathroom cupboards exterior walls, gutters, metal surfaces and fascias. It may also be found on interior walls, ceilings and areas with enamel paint.
If the house is built before 1970 it should be assumed that the paint contains lead and all necessary precautions be taken unless it is tested by appropriate representative sampling and analysis of areas and layers of paint to be removed. This sampling should be conducted by a suitably qualified professional such as an occupational/environmental hygienist which can be found in your telephone directory.
Health risks increase if the paint is flaking or chalking. The risk is particularly high if the lead paint is removed by sanding, sandblasting or burning.
Lead paint should not be removed using methods which result in the creation of dust or fumes such as:
Appropriate methods of lead paint removal generally include:
Dry power sanding with a HEPA vacuum attachment
Work areas should be contained if possible and plastic disposable drop sheets should be used.
3 Colours was engaged to work on a historic building to remove lead paint. There were several layers of paint that needed to be removed due to paint failure due to moisture. We had to remove these layers of paint carefully, ensuring dust or any airborne particles were not disturbed in the process. We did this by applying a wet paint stripping technique, before applying a Porters Mineral Paint.