How to Remove Lead Based Paint Safely
Older paint contains lead. Over the years, governments have gradually phased out the use of lead in paint. If your house was built before 1960, the paint used during construction would have contained a great deal of lead paint.
Reduction started in the 60s, with complete elimination by the 1980s. If your house was built after 1978, the paint likely has no lead in it. What’s wrong with lead based paint? Lead is unhealthy if ingested, and it is surprisingly easy to ingest paint. It has a way of finding its way into our diets, particularly into the diets of toddlers. For instance, painted door-jambs and window sashes create paint dust during use. For toddlers who spend a great deal of time on their hands and knees, and who “test” the world through their mouths, this dust presents a serious health hazard if it contains lead.
Knowing if you have lead based paint is half the battle. The paint can be tested on site by a lead-abatement contractor who has specialized testing equipment provides instant results. The alternative is to send a sample to a lab for testing. Contact the lab first to get directions for obtaining and packaging the sample. Contact your local Pillar To Post® home inspector to see if they can test for lead.
Dealing with Lead Based Paint:
Keep it clean. Lead dust is the problem. Wet mop floors weekly and wipe surfaces to remove the lead dust. Some suggest using special detergents and discarding the mop after use. Information on detergents and cleaning protocols are readily available on the Internet.
The paint on the walls and ceilings is fairly safe because the surfaces typically do not wear. You can protect these areas by applying newer lead-free paint over the top, in a process that builders call encapsulation.
Wear surfaces can be replaced rather than encapsulated. For example, you can remove and replace door-jambs with new wood.
Where encapsulation or wood replacement is not practical, you can remove the paint using chemical strippers. This task is time consuming and expensive and should only be done by an expert lead abatement contractor since proper containment is essential.
Content courtesy of Pillar To Post Home Inspections
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