Banned from residential paints in 1978, lead paint is in the majority of homes built before that year. Lead poisoning is caused by paint that is flaking, peeling, chipping, and chalking, or by dust during a repair project. However, by following the EPA guidelines, we can safely contain the dust and keep your home lead-safe and worry-free. Before hiring someone to remove lead paint, paint the inside, paint the outside, or repair your home, look at some of our recommended lead-paint work practices.
- Find the causes of damage and know whether or not you have lead paint by testing for it.
- Ensure whoever is working to remove lead paint has all federal, state, and local regulations covered, including all licensing.
- Confirm that extreme caution is taken when disturbing the lead paint, and all lead-safe dust control methods are followed. This includes setting up the work area, separating the workspace from the occupied space, and isolating the project’s dust part.
- Protect occupants, especially children, from lead poisoning by keeping them away from the work area and cleaning up the job site before they return. For workers, this includes wearing proper respiratory protection for lead dust, keeping the area clean, and not taking lead dust home by wearing protective outfits off the job-site.
- Clean up throughout each day, at the end of each day, and once the job is finished. This is extremely important, so lead dust particles are not being spread.
- Maintain the painted surfaces and keep them clean. Floors and painted surfaces should be vacuumed and mopped often, rugs and carpets should be cleaned as well.
Damaged surfaces that contain lead paint represent a health threat to occupants. One thing to keep in mind is if your house has any damaged surfaces. If it does, it is essential to correct the issue right away; otherwise, the damage will continue to occur.
Areas For Concern
The following conditions are examples of potential causes of damage to painted surfaces. Be sure that the planned work will correct these conditions if they are present.
Moisture From Outside
Moisture From Inside
- Condensation due to poor ventilation, unvented steams, leaking plumbing, and failed seals.
- Rubbing and impact of painted surfaces
- Doors and windows, along with unprotected wall and trim
Places that Collect Dust and Paint Chips
- When possible, repair or remove places where dust and paint chips may accumulate. If those areas are damp, they may contain mold. Our tip is to keep all flat surfaces clean and cleanable.
- Some issues may be caused by damage like dry rot and foundation settlement or shift.
Before You Start To Remove Lead Paint
Setup The Work Area – Interior
- Restrict access by having occupants and pets vacate the areas where work will be done.
- Protect the floor with taped down plastic sheeting extending at least six feet from where the lead paint is being disturbed.
- Protect furniture by removing objects from the work area and covering and sealing objects that cannot be removed. Another important step is to close all windows, doors, and duct openings so dust particles do not spread.
- Put all necessary tools and supplies on protective sheeting so you can avoid stepping off protective sheeting.
- Wear protective shoe covering to prevent tracking lead dust to other parts of the house or areas nearby and remove them whenever you step away from sheeting. Use a trackpad or wipe down shoes whenever you step off protective sheeting. You can also use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove dust particles on clothing and shoes.
- Setup a dust room which will make it easier to do dust-generating work and clean up after the job.
Setup The Work Area – Exterior
- Protect the ground by covering it with plastic sheeting extending at least ten feet from the area of paint being disturbed. The distance allows for dust and falling debris to land on the sheeting for a detailed cleanup.
- Attach protective sheeting to the wall with tape or staples.
- Build a curb around the work perimeter when a sidewalk or another property is nearby.
- Close all windows and doors within 20 feet of the work area. If they cannot be closed, seal them with protective sheeting. If the entrance must be used, closer than 20 feet, place a shroud above and on both sides so workers can pass through while confining dust and debris.
During this process, you should be aware of other construction hazards, including scaffolding, fall protection, ladders, head protection, hazard communication, construction, electrical, slips, trips, and falls. If you want to learn more, visit OSHA’s website.
- Protect eyes with safety glasses or goggles.
- Keep clothes and tools clean, free of dust and debris whenever leaving the work area. After each workday, any dusty clothes and HEPA vacuum off the dust. This is in addition to wearing disposable protective clothing and a painter hat.
- Wear respiratory protection.
- Post warning signs.
- Wash face and hands thoroughly each time you stop working.