Lead Paint Removal: Why & How

(3-min read)

A practice dating back to the founding of the country, the addition of lead to paint increased paint's resiliency significantly. It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that health officials began to realize the full ramifications of human exposure to lead. In this piece, we're going to look why lead paint should be removed and how.

Why Lead Should Be Removed

Lead is an incredibly toxic metal that was once used for various applications — from being an additive to paint to gasoline and much more. When lead is absorbed into the body, the results can be disastrous. Symptoms of lead exposure include chronic headaches, upset stomach, feeling nauseous, lethargy, or feeling irritable. If exposure is significant, it can result in severe damage to the brain, the nervous system, the blood, and vital organs such as the kidneys. 

Testing For Lead

Just because some areas of paint are old do not necessarily mean they may contain lead. When you're not sure if the paint contains lead, there are various tests on the market that can reveal the presence of lead in paint chips in other materials. They are relatively straightforward tests and are available at most consumer hardware stores. 

How Lead Paint is Removed

Removing lead paint is reasonably straight forward, though the technique varies. 

  • Any place that has been identified as containing lead is isolated from the rest of the structure. Furniture and other items are removed. 
  • Protective plastic sheeting is applied to the floor with tape to contain the debris. 
  • All HVAC systems are turned off with the vents covered with protective plastic covers. This reduces the likelihood of the potentially toxic debris entering the air conditioning or heating system. 
  • Any abatement specialist should be wearing gear that protects from hazardous material. This includes a certified high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration mask, sealed goggles, and rubber gloves. The specialist's clothes will likely be disposable. 
  • The affected areas are usually soaked down with water or a solution to reduce the amount of dry particles from becoming airborne and inhaled.
  • The specialists work in small sections as they go, scraping, peeling, or sanding away the lead paint. 
  • The lead paint is placed in a certified receptacle or vacuumed up using a specialized vacuum device. 
  • The lead paint is then treated as hazardous waste an disposed of appropriately. 

While lead paint removal can legally be done by homeowners, it is recommended that a demolition and hazardous material removal specialist be brought in to do so safely and effectively. 

You can trust the Oklahoma-based demolition and hazardous material removal services of DT Specialized Services for removal of your lead paint and other dangerous substances.

Learn more about DT Specialized Services.