What are the risks of lead paint?
According to research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), based on 2015 data, it is estimated that lead exposure accounted for 494 550 deaths in total.
Why was lead paint used?
Lead is poisonous. A toxic metal substance with potentially devastating side effects if handled incorrectly, but you knew that already.
What you may or may not know is whether the substance is quietly sat in your home. When was the last time the property was painted or the paintwork inspected?
The reason why lead compounds were used in paint products was to help reduce drying time, increase resistance to moisture and humidity, and to make it more hard wearing.
Where you can expect to find lead paint.
In a leaflet published by the HSE on lead paint, both the age of your home and thickness of the paint in your home are clues as to whether or not the potential of lead paint is likely.
Modern homes are not subject to the same uncertainty, as lead in household paints was banned from sale to the general public in late 1992.
However, many of the homes built within the UK before this time, mostly before the 1980s, that still have their original paintwork (even if it is under layers of newer paint and sealants) can pose serious risks to you and your family.
The risks of lead paint.
We don’t like to scaremonger, that’s not our tactic here at V-TUF, but what we do aim to do is educate and inform where possible.
As a professional contractor, whether you are a labourer, plasterer, carpenter, or painter and decorator, you expose yourself to risks on site each and every day, and you do your best to reduce or remove these risks where possible.
So for a substance that is colourless, tasteless and odourless, how do you know if your exposure has had negative effects? Well, over longer or repeat exposure to lead, the likelihood is you could develop lead poisoning.
These risks, from inhalation of lead based paint dust, are even greater for pregnant women and young children. So it is absolutely better to be safe than sorry when working with any lead based particulates.
From a professional point of view, your health deteriorating is not the only potential effect, the CLAW (Control of Lead at Work) Regulation requires employers to protect employees against the risks of lead exposure, and failure to do so can result in fines or sentencing. You can read more about the CLAW regulations here.
What you can do to reduce risks of lead exposure during home renovation?
The HSE has some great guidance documents that detail everything from differing lead exposure risk levels to further information on where lead paint can be found, check out this PDF for more information.
In their lead paint leaflet, they note the quickest way to deal with lead paint, if the original paint is in good condition, is to seal it with a good sealant, helping to instantly reduce any potential of exposure to yourself and your family in the quickest way possible.
If you need to remove it and wish to do it yourself then you need to make sure that you have protective clothing, the correct respiratory protective equipment, you remove all furniture and cover over floors and any other surfaces with heavy duty dust sheets sealed down with tape.
If you’re interested to know more about RPE equipment then we will be bringing you another blog in the coming weeks, or you can check out our specialist Cobra Dust Extraction Scraper.
One final option, if you are not a professional trades person, is to get an experienced professional to assess and deal with the situation to and recommend the best course of action.
Whichever you decide is best suited, make sure you stay safe!
Until next time,
The V-TUF Family.