Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Dangers of Lead Paint

While renovating a house, redecorating or restoring a room to its former glory, have you ever wondered what lurks beneath your walls? Many traditional houses actually contain walls that were decorated with lead paint. But what are the dangers associated with this type of paint, and how can it be safely removed?

Why Lead Paint Was Used?

The first thing to do if you are in any doubt is to call a professional painter to inspect your property and ask about lead paint removal. Although lead paint was outlawed many years ago, most homeowners tend to paint over walls rather than strip the paint when they redecorate. But in instances where a wall has deteriorated or needs to be removed or replaced, the danger of lead paint can be quite significant. 

Residential painting

Lead is added to the paint to speed up the drying process, which was actually quite effective. Whilst the properties of lead paint can benefit walls by repelling moisture, keeping the surface looking fresh as well as helping the walls to avoid corrosion, lead is regarded as a toxic substance dangerous to human health. It is highly recommended that lead-based jobs should be handled by experienced, knowledgeable and trained lead paint removal experts to ensure the safest environment before and after the work.

Before 1965, the government allowed a level of 50% lead in all paints used in commercial and domestic applications. Realising the health risks, the government reduced the legal level of lead in paint to allow paint which only contains less than 1% to still be sold. Lead laws and regulations were established and the latest government recommendation on the levels of lead in paints was decided in 1997, then no more than 0.1% lead is to be used in paint.

The Real Dangers... 

The biggest danger comes when people decide to renovate and decorate their houses. They may not even notice that they may be peeling back a layer of paint that contains lead when they are up to the painting and decorating. When using paint-stripping sanders, this can create a toxic level of lead dust that can cause serious damage to the body when inhaled. Dust from lead paint can remain in a home for months and even years after any renovation work has been carried out.

lead removal

Once the lead dust from a lead-based paint has been scattered throughout a house, it can lay in carpets, cracks and other areas around the house that makes for complete removal of this toxic substance extremely difficult - even for professionals who understand the lead removal process.

The only true way to know if your house contains lead-based paint and what level of lead is being used is to perform a test on all of the walls and painted surfaces around your home. This way you can be ready to remove potentially multiple layers of paint without a worry of harm to you and your family. The lead paint test kits are available in the majority of the bigger hardware and DIY stores for between $10 and $18. The test kit includes a swab that is used to show a chemical reaction when it finds lead in a chip of paint and can give you peace of mind before calling the professionals.
lead paint removal

Lead paint removal can and should be performed by professionals. If you are in any doubt about the levels of lead contained in older layers of paint in your home, you should purchase a lead paint test kit. If the kit shows positive signs of lead, you should contact a professional painter and ask his advice and availability to remove the paint for you. With a professional service available for lead removal from the paint on your walls, you can begin your redecorating and renovation once the clean-up has finished.