Prior to the year 1978, lead was a component in most paints especially the ones used buildings and structures. As we all know now, lead is hazardous to health. We should be careful in working with or handling materials that contain this substance. If you happen to work with paints that contain lead, you must be sure to have it tackled by professionals.
If you are doing a repainting job on a house or building that was constructed prior to 1979, you’d probably encounter lead in the process, especially if the old coatings haven’t been scraped before. For your own safety, you must exercise caution when scraping or removing old paint. Some paint containers are pasted with warning stickers to make paint users are made aware of the health risks of paints.
Here is a sample of a warning pasted on the lid of a paint can. This is presented in the same manner the original warning was written. Note that some phrases are written in capital letters to emphasize their importance. They are not meant to shout at or offend the reader. You must take time to read it and consider it seriously.
WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by calling the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead.
While lead is hazardous, it is not able to cause damage if you leave it undisturbed. But if you flake or peel paint that contains lead, it can surely pose a certain degree of danger depending on how your body has taken them in. You should also keep little children away from paint chips as they might chew or eat these. Paint chips are sweet-tasting and children might chew on them. You should always make sure to remove all peeling paints to prevent them from being seen by children. Another health threatening situation lead-containing paints can bring is when they are being scraped or sanded. This can put lead dust in the air and make them settle onto other surfaces and get inhaled by unsuspecting individuals.
Seeing this danger, the Federal government made a requirement for anyone performing renovations, repairs and painting projects that disturb lead-based paints. They must be certified by the EPA and required to adhere to specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
This article is not intended to scare you and force you to hire a contractor for your painting project. Furthermore, this article has no intention of scaring away professional painters such as the house painter Loveland home owners prefer. Painting is a great job. But you must exercise caution to promote safety and to protect your own health.
Lori Palermo is a corporate consultant who is experienced in the areas of fund administration, corporate solutions, human resources, technology and small business. He likes to share his knowledge about business and human interests. .