9 Safety Considerations for Lead Paint Removal 9 Safety Considerations for Lead Paint Removal
Lead paint removal can be quite risky if it is not performed with the utmost caution. Older homes, especially those constructed before 1960, have a good chance of containing lead based paint. When this paint flakes or chips, it can be hazardous because of the lead content in it. Lead causes several health problems and is especially dangerous to pregnant women, babies and young children, it can cause anemia, impair brain function and also lower learning abilities. If lead based paint is not flaking and in need of repair, it is probably best to leave it alone. However, if you need to remove it, you can use professional assistance or perform the removal yourself with the utmost caution.
1 – Keep Away Children and Pregnant Women
Before you begin removing the paint, make sure young children and pregnant women will be adequately protected. It is advisable to have them stay elsewhere during the duration of the project. If this is not possible, you must ensure that they have no access to the work area.
2 – Wear Protective Clothing and Equipment
Wear protective overalls, old clothing, eye protection, thick gloves and a dust mask. This will protect your body from the lead dust that will fly around as you work.
3 – Never Consume Food in the Work Area
If you need to eat or drink something, you must first go out of the work area and wash your hands and face. Never eat or drink in the work area. Avoid smoking as well.
4 – Protect Surrounding Area
Before you start removing the paint, move out all the furniture, rugs and fixtures from the work area. Cover the floors, windows and doors with thick, heavy plastic. Lightly mist all these areas with water frequently, so that they will hold on to the lead dust.
5 – Avoid Working Outdoors on Windy Day
If you are removing lead based paint from the outside of a house, you must consider weather conditions. Make sure there are no children or pregnant women in the vicinity. Cover the windows and doors from the outside, so that the dust does not escape indoors.
6 – Avoid Sanding or Grinding
Never use sanding or grinding to remove lead based paint. These methods will result in dry dust flying around and will increase your chances of contamination.
7 – Use Chemical Strippers
Chemical strippers are the safest way to remove lead based paint. Avoid working for long durations at a time. Go outdoors once in a while and stop work immediately if you feel sick or nauseous.
8 – Change Work Clothes after Paint Removal
After you finish your project, you can dispose of your work clothes or wash them in a separate load of laundry.
9 – Clean Work Area Daily
Clean the work area every day after work. Mop a couple of times and then wait. If there is still evidence of dust, repeat the process. Collect the lead dust in a plastic bag, label it as hazardous waste and dispose it of in accordance with local regulations.