Ready to paint your home, but worried about the presence of lead paint in your house? It’s an understandable concern in older homes, especially those before 1978 when lead paint was banned from use in building paint. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or looking to get assistance from a contractor, it’s essential to understand the risks and safety measures needed to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from lead paint.
Lead Paint and Dust During Renovation
The biggest risk during a renovation is releasing lead paint into your home, either by having lead paint chips or dust. Lead paint dust is especially dangerous as it can easily enter the body via the mouth, throat, and lungs. Three things to keep in mind:
- Understand the Risks: Start by knowing the risks of lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children as it interferes with physical and mental development.
- Prepare the Room: Paint removal, in particular, will create a lot of chips and dust. Furniture should be removed, not just covered. Anything that can’t be removed should be wrapped in plastic and securely taped in place.
- Keep It Wet: Use wet sanders and use a spray bottle to wet the surface when working with hand tools to avoid the spread of dust.
Good Work Practices and Equipment
If you’re going to handle the project yourself, remember to purchase the right equipment you need. This will include having HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) certified gear and following good work practices.
- HEPA Respirators and Vacuums: Due to the fine particulates when removing paint, you will need NIOSH-certified respirators as well as HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. Using a normal vacuum would vent the dust into the air.
- Lock Down the Room: Besides removing or covering furniture, make sure windows are closed, vents sealed, and for larger projects an “airlock” is created using two sheets, one taped to the door along all corners and slit down the middle, and the second hanging flush as a flap.
- Keep It Clean: Wear full body covers to avoid tracking around dust. Clean and launder them separately and discard after the project. Clean the workspace regularly with vacuum and mops, replacing rages, sponges, and mops often and discarding the old ones.
Learn more about self-run projects on the EPA’s page for Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) personal projects.
When to Call in Lead Abatement and RRP Contractors
For larger and commercial projects, or if you don’t have the time to invest in proper work gear and project time, think about contacting a lead abatement specialist and RRP contractor. They can test for the presence of lead in your paint and perform the proper procedures to keep your home safe during any remodel.
If you’re worried about asbestos or lead in your home, or your contractor has discovered the presence of these hazardous building materials, we can help. Fiber Control, Inc. are experts in asbestos abatement and lead remediation. Contact us today to learn about your options when it comes to removing these materials.