Lead Removal Specialists-It’s the Law
Lead Removal Safe Practices are used by Integrity Remodeling in Mobile Alabama.
Federal law requires contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities, and schools, built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Always ask to see your contractor’s certification.
Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating six square feet of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surface for exterior projects or window replacement or demolition in housing built before 1978.
Facts About Lead
- Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Lead is also harmful to adults.
- Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. People can also get lead in their bodies from lead in soil or paint chips. Lead dust is often invisible.
- Lead based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
- Projects that disturb painted surfaces can create dust and endanger you and your family. Don’t let this happen to you. Follow the basic practices listed on this page to protect you and your family.
Lead and Your Health
Lead is especially dangerous to children under six years of age. Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems causing:
- Reduced IQ
- Learning disabilities
- Behavior problems
Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
Lead is also harmful to adults. In adults, low levels of lead can pose many dangers, including:
- High blood pressure and hypertension
- Pregnant women exposed to lead can transfer lead to their fetuses. Lead gets into the body when it is swallowed or inhaled.
- People, especially children, can swallow lead dust as they eat, play, and do other normal hand-to-mouth activities.
- People may also breath in lead dust or fumes if they disturb lead-based paint. People who sand, scrape, burn, brush, or blast or otherwise disturb lead-based paint risk unsafe exposure to lead.
What should I do If I Am Concerned About My Family’s Exposure to Lead?
- Call you local health department for advice on reducing and eliminating exposures to lead inside and outside your home, child-care facility, or school.
- Always use lead-safe work lead removal practices when renovation or repair will disturb painted surfaces.
- A blood test is the only way to find out if your or a family member already has lead poisoning. Call your doctor or local health department to arrange for a blood test.
Where Does The Lead Come From?
Dust is the main problem
The most common way to get lead in the body is from dust. Lead dust comes from deteriorating lead-based paint and lead-contaminated soil that gets tracked into your home. This dust may accumulate to unsafe levels. Then, normal hand-to-mouth activities, like playing and eating (especially in young children), move that dust from surfaces like floors and window sills into the body.
Home Renovation Creates Dust
Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips.
Proper Work Practices Protect You From the Dust
The key to protecting yourself and family during a renovation, repairs, or painting jobs is to a licensed lead removal specialist, use lead-safe work lead removal practices such as containing dust inside the work area, using dust minimizing work methods, and conducting a careful cleanup.
You have the following options:
You may decide to assume your home, child care facility, or school contains lead.
Especially in older homes and buildings, you may simply want to assume lead-based paint is present and follow the lead-safe work practices described previously during the renovation, repair, or painting job.
You can hire a certified professional to check for lead-based paint.
These professionals are certified risk assessors or inspectors, and can determine if your home has lead or lead hazards.
- Certified lead removal specialists can conduct an inspection telling you whether your home, or a portion of your home, has lead-based paint and where it is located. This will tell you the areas in your home where lead-safe work practices are needed.
- Certified lead removal specialists risk assessor can conduct a risk assessment telling your if your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. The risk assessor can also tell you what actions to take to address any hazards.
- For help finding a certified risk assessor or inspector, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
- You may also have lead removal specialists test the surfaces or components being disturbed for lead using a lead test kit. Test kits must be EPA-recognized and are available at hardware stores. They include detailed instructions for their use.
Lead Removal For Property Owners
Federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Make sure your lead removal specialists is certified, and can explain clearly the details of the job and how the contractor will minimize lead hazards during the lead removal work.
- You can verify that a contractor is certified by checking EPA’s website at epa.gov/getleadsafe or by calling the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323). You can also ask to see a copy of the contractor’s firm certification.
- Ask if the contractor is trained to perform lead-safe work practices and to see a copy of their training certificate.
- Ask them what lead-safe methods they will use to set up and perform the job in your home, child care facility, or school.
If you think a worker is not doing what he is supposed to do or is doing something that is unsafe, you should:
- Direct the contractor to comply with regulatory and contract requirements.
- Call your local health or building department, or
- Call EPA’s hotline 1-800-424-LEAD(5323).
If your property receives housing assistance from HUD (or a state or local agency that uses HUD funds), you must follow the requirements of HUD’s Lead-Safe Housing Rule.
Lead Removal For Tenants and Families of Children Under Six Years of Age in Child Care Facilities and Schools
Federal law requires that lead removal specialists performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb painted surfaces in homes built before 1978 and in child care facilities and schools built before 1978, that a child under six years of age visits regularly, to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Preparing For A Renovation
You may even want to move out of your home temporarily while all or part of the work is being done.
Child care facilities and schools may want to consider alternative accommodations for children and access to necessary facilities.
During the Lead Removal Work
- Contain the Work Area. The area must be contained so that dust and debris do not escape from that area. Warning signs must be put up and plastic or other impermeable material and tape must be used as appropriate to:
- Cover the floors and any furniture that cannot be moved.
- Seal off doors and heating and cooling system vents.These will help prevent dust or debris from outside the work area.
- Avoid renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust. Some methods generate so much lead-contaminated dust that their use is prohibited. They are:
- Open flame burning or torching
- Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with power tools and equipment not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment.
- Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100°F.
- Clean up thoroughly. The work area should be cleaned up daily to keep it as clean as possible. When all the work is done, the area must be cleaned up using special cleaning methods before taking down any plastic that isolates the work area from the rest of the home. The special cleaning methods should include:
- Using a HEPA vacuum to clean up dust and debris on all surfaces, followed by:
- Wet wiping and wet mopping with plenty of rinse water.
When the final lead removal cleaning is done, look around. There should be no dust, paint chips, or debris in the work area. If you see any dust, paint chips, or debris, the area must be re-cleaned.