Lead is considered to be one of the most toxic naturally occurring substances that can have serious and irreversible effects on adults and children alike. Lead poisoning can sometimes also cause death, especially if it builds up in the body without getting detected. So the answer to the question about whether one can get lead poisoning from stripping lead paint is yes. If you are thinking of remodeling or moving into a house that was constructed before 1978, there is a high chance that the house has lead-based paint. It was only in 1978 that the Federal Government banned all kinds of lead paints and household materials. But it still remains in millions of homes across the country, and hence one should be very careful about the health hazards of lead paint removal.
Deteriorating lead-based paint from the exterior and interior walls of a home can cause them to chip, crack, chalk and peel. The lead waste dust can get mixed in the air, and the contaminated dust gets into the body through inhalation. This can finally cause severe physical and mental impairment, especially in children and pregnant women, as their immunity is already low. So if you are thinking of going DIY with lead paint removal, it is strongly advised not to do it.
Why shouldn’t one remove or strip lead paint on their own?
Attempting to remove lead paint by yourself is a bad idea, even if you are on a strict budget. The reason for this is that in order to ensure your safety as well as your family’s, only trained lead paint professionals should remove lead from any surface. There are many adverse results of lead paint which can result in prolonged illness as well as fatal consequences. It goes without saying that you wouldn’t want that for yourself as well as your family. Hence it’s a bad idea to mess around with lead paint unless you have the proper training and tools.
In the case of lead paint, you can’t just sand the drywall and do some basic clean-up after removing the paint as you do with regular paint. To ensure that lead dust and paint chips are properly removed, there are a number of steps that must be taken. There are also municipal laws regarding lead-based disposal you must adhere to. Consider the costs of your project and hire a professional lead paint remover to ensure that the job is done correctly and in a safe manner.
Processes of removing lead paint by professionals:
- Encapsulation: It is the simplest and most cost-effective way since it entails applying a paint-like covering to the lead-based paint and then brushing or rolling it on to produce a watertight bond. Using “encapsulants,” which are paint-like coatings that contain lead particles, is typically a more cost-effective way to remove lead paint from the surface. Opening and shutting doors and windows may gradually wear off the protective coating on the surface. In comparison to the other techniques, this one is the most cost-effective solution, but it isn’t as long-lasting as other solutions. You may need to reapply encapsulants in order to keep the lead-based paint from chipping or peeling out over time.
- Removal: With liquid removers, scrubbing with bristle brushes and sanding are viable options for the removal of lead paint. Using an electric-based sander with an efficient particulate air filter, most likely one with a HEPA filter, some contractors do wet sanding. One can also so use a heat gun that works at a low temperature along with a scraper to remove the paint. Both methods include resurfacing and removing the lead from your wall, so the labor expenses may be a little more in this case. But at least you know the paint is gone after this process is done. Open flame burning, torching, sanding without a HEPA attachment, abrasive blasting, and power washing without a way to catch water and paint chips are all prohibited techniques of lead paint removal.
- Enclosure: Since your contractor is effectively building new walls, this procedure may be equivalent to removal, but it may take more time. The old surface that has lead paint on it is covered up with a new surface so that the issue may be dealt with later on. The additional lead removal procedures will be necessary if you ever wish to demolish the building.
If your property contains any kind of lead-based paint, the best solution would be to hire a professional to tackle it. He can guide you elaborately on how to test for lead paint and also safely get rid of it without putting yourself or your family in danger.