what about lead?


Old 01-30-06, 10:38 AM
wgc is offline
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what about lead?

My wife just thought of this ....

Our house was built in 1946 so probably used lead based paint at some point. We haven't been concerned since all paint is modern and there is no visible paint dust or flaking. However, we do have a new baby. This past weekend I cut a few small holes for a new ceiling light, new outlets, and relocated thermostat. I made sure the baby was not in the same room as falling dust, then swept and mopped afterward, but should I be concerned about the possiblity of lead? Is that too small an amount to make any difference? Are there additional steps I should take to clean up after cutting? I'll probably get a test kit from my home center and we'll definitely ask to have the baby tested but hopefully we're worrying too much about nothing.
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Old 01-30-06, 12:04 PM
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The best thing to do when disturbing areas where leaded paint is present is to lay polyethylene sheeting down on all surfaces where dust may settle. A fan placed in a window will help direct any airborn dust out the window. Once work is completed, the plastic should be carefully folded onto itself, placed inside a garbage bag, and taped shut. Floors should not be swept, instead any remaining dust should be collected with a damp rag. Non-hepa vacuums should not be used because they are not filtered, and the vacuum will spread lead dust into the air.

This is for small work areas where only a small amount of paint is disturbed (as you've described). For larger projects, you would want to check the EPA's suggestions for lead abatement.
Old 01-30-06, 04:11 PM
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Lead wasn't always present in wall paint was almost always found in the older enamels. The thing I would worry about is all the woodwork from about 3'-4' down. Most childern get lead posioning from chewwing on and ingesting bits of paint. Some codes require lead abatement on all woodwork from a certain point down on any rental units. I don't really have any answers on lead abatement but would suggest that you check into it for your childs sake.
Old 01-30-06, 08:12 PM
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I think all of the advice above is valid, but to specifically address your question, I would not let the work you hav done worry you. THe amount of lead paint you would have disturbed is minimal and it sounds like you cleaned up pretty well. I would guess that everyone over age 30 in North America has lived in a house with significant amounts of lead paint for part or all of their childhood, and most of those houses would have had at least one or two holes cut in the walls, likely with fewer precautions than you employed. Things like painted door hinges and windows likely release a great deal more lead paint particulate than cutting a small hole in a wall.

Go ahead and get the little one tested for your piece of mind, but I am virtually postive you will not find any lead and if there is a problem, the source is likely other than your small project. You have not harmed your child. To add to what has been said above, the best cleaner for lead contaminated dust is one containing phosphates (TSP or dishwasher detergent).
Old 01-31-06, 06:46 AM
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Just for clarification, what I meant to suggest is that you have the lower woodwork tested to make sure that your child couldn't get any access to lead chips. You know how youngins like to put things in their mouth.

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