If you’re worried about lead in your home, our Bio-Clean Environmental Industries experts can manage the lead paint removal process. We assist people in both Colorado and Wyoming with getting rid of lead paint in their homes or businesses. Lead can be toxic to people and result in serious health problems. If you think you may have lead paint in your home, call us right away.
Dangerous to People
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead in homes is very dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb lead, causing damaging effects to their brains and nervous systems from lead poisoning. Babies and young children often put their hands in their mouths that may have lead dust on them and can inhale lead dust from lead-based paint.
Adults can also be seriously affected by lead poisoning if they breathe lead dust from lead-based paint, particularly during renovation or repair work that disturbs painted surfaces in older homes and buildings. Pregnant women need to be very careful about being exposed to lead paint because it can affect the developing baby.
Lead Poisoning in Children
Lead paint removal is an important measure necessary to prevent poisoning caused by paint that flakes, peels, chips, and chalks, or by dust from a remodeling project that disturbs the lead paint. Lead poisoning in children can result in:
- Behavior and learning problems
- Lower IQ and Hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Hearing Problems
Lead Poisoning in Pregnant Women and Adults
Lead accumulates in the body over time and is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as calcium and is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is dangerous because lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus to the lead. Lead poisoning in pregnant women can result in:
- Reduced growth of the fetus
- Premature birth
Lead poisoning in adults can result in:
- Cardiovascular problem like increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension
- Decreased kidney function
- Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
Most homes built before 1950 contain lead paint. If the home was built between 1950 and 1978, it could contain lead paint. If a home is built before 1978, make sure it doesn’t have lead before remodeling, repainting or making home repairs. A lab can analyze the paint chips.
Owners of rental property have the responsibility to repair chipping or peeling lead painted surfaces. If renters notice peeling or chipping paint, the landlord should be contacted about repairing the painted surfaces.
The Lead Paint Removal Process
There are three main steps to the lead paint removal process, including controlling the dust, wetting the work area, and cleaning up.
- Control the Dust
The first step in the lead paint removal process is to control the dust which contains the lead and travels quickly. Working in one room at a time, the work area should be sealed off from the rest of the house.
- Place heavy plastic over the floors and baseboards
- Cover beyond the work area
- Remove all rugs, carpets and furniture, other items should be covered with two sheets of plastic and the seams taped
- Turn off the furnace and seal the blower and the registers
- Close the windows
- People and pets should leave the area (particularly children and pregnant women)
- Seal off the doors
- Remove shoes when leaving the area or put paper-booties over the shoes
- Wear disposable protective clothing, shoes, hair covering, and goggles
- Use HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) respirators to filter lead dust and fumes (Paper or fabric dust masks is not a good enough protection)
- Do not eat, drink or smoke while working
- Take a shower when done to get all the dust off
- Remove Old Paint by Wetting the Work Area
Wet everything down that needs to be removed before disturbing any painted surface. Wetting is an important step in the lead removal process because it lets the dust cling to the painted surfaces instead of blowing it out in a hazardous cloud. The wet sludge is wiped away. Working wet goes for interiors and exteriors. Don’t forget to shut off the electrical power.
There are three ways to remove the lead paint:
- Wet scraping: spray water on the surfaces, then use hand scrapers to get rid of the paint.
- Wet sanding or power sanding: wet sanding sponges help reduce the dust or an electric sander with an HEPA filtered vacuum attachment is used
- Heat removal: a low temperature below 1100°F is used and then hand scraped
What not to use:
- Open flame burning
- Machine sanding without an HEPA attachment
- Abrasive sandblasting
- Power washing without a method to contain water and paint chips
- Clean Up
It’s crucial that the lead dust and debris are cleaned up once the lead paint removal process is done. The work area should be vacuumed with an HEPA vacuum to collect all the paint chips and dust on the floors, sills, and other areas. The areas where the lead paint is being removed should be wet cleaned daily. This is done by misting and collecting debris in plastic bags then using wet cloths or wet mops on all the surfaces.
- Use an HEPA-filtered vacuum on all surfaces
- Wet mop and clean all surfaces
- HEPA vacuum the entire work area
- Use a screwdriver or other device to dig sludge and chips out of cracks and corners.
- Remove the weather stripping
- Wash the entire area, wiping in one direction
- Rinse the entire area with clean water
- Clean uncarpeted floors and woodwork
- Wash the tools and respirator
- Throw away the respirator filters and sanding sponges
- Get rid of work coveralls, and remove dust from clothes with an HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner before leaving the area
- Shower as soon as possible
Lead poisoning is too serious to ignore. If you think you may have lead paint in your home, call us and we can explain the lead paint removal process, then manage the project from start to finish. Our Bio-Clean Environmental Industries experts will complete an initial inspection of the area, we’ll tell you what we find, and what’s needed to remedy the situation. To get started right away, simply give us a call today for lead paint help in Colorado and Wyoming.