Although lead-based paint has been off the shelves for quite some time now, there are still plenty of homes and buildings covered with lead-based paint. This doesn’t pose a huge health risk, as long as the paint remains undisturbed and intact. However, when a structure with lead paint is being remodeled or demolished, the risk of contamination is increased.
The biggest risk lead paint presents is from dust. When a wall or piece of wood is cut, broken, or knocked down dust is inevitably created. This dust can then travel into the community by air or by landing on the workers’ vehicles and clothing. This is why controlling dust is a top priority when doing demolition on a structure that contains lead paint.
Here are a few ways we can keep the dust at a minimum.
- Wetting the surfaces of contaminated surfaces
- Using proper ventilation to control where the dust lands
- Misting the air to limit the distance the dust can travel
- Taking precautions to not cut or break materials more than absolutely necessary
Health Risks of Lead Paint
If lead paint finds its way into the body, by means of dust or other options, it can lead to lead poisoning. The health risks associated with lead poisoning include damage to the: brain, nervous system, blood cells, and kidneys. Small children are especially susceptible to these health risks.
Due to these health risks, the environmental protection agency (EPA) created specific rules for dealing with lead paint demolition. They also created a certification program contractors and demolition companies must go through to legally work with lead paint. This program educates contractors about the risks of lead paint as well as the best practices to use when working around it.