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Lead Removal Guide

A guide to lead removal for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. These resources apply to projects that remove or encapsulate toxic lead. Consider calling Precision Environmental a Lead Abatement Contractor anytime you cut into surfaces painted with toxic lead, even if the paint is covered by layers of newer paint, you risk creating hazardous lead dust. We are EPA Lead-Safe Certified and devoted to safe and proficient lead abatement services. Our Supervisors and Technicians are OSHA trained for the complete lead abatement process. Lead is still present in homes and businesses. If the paint is in good shape, the lead paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard and needs immediate attention. A big indicator is “scales,” which happens when the paint starts to crack and wrinkle, creating a pattern that resembles reptilian scales. This is a sign that your paint may contain lead. Another sign that you might be dealing with lead paint is if it produces a chalky residue when it rubs off or deteriorates.

Do You Have Lead Paint In Your Home?

Lead-based paint was widely used before the federal ban. As a result, it’s not just possible, but likely that you have some lead paint somewhere in your property. The CDC estimates that over 29 million housing units in the United States currently contain serious lead-based paint hazards. Lead is a naturally occurring metal that can cause negative health effects.

Where to find Lead-Based Paint?

In general, the older your home or childcare facility, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Many homes, including private, federally assisted, federally owned housing, and childcare facilities have lead-containing paint.

Common locations lead is found:

  • Windows and windowsills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches
  • In homes and childcare facilities in the city, country, or suburbs
  • In private and public single-family homes and apartments
  • On surfaces inside and outside of the house
  • In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint or other sources)

What Is Lead Abatement?

Commercial or residential lead abatement in California is a specialized activity designed to address the removal of lead in a building, home, commercial property, or other facility. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires firms and individuals who perform abatement projects in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be certified and follow specific practices. Our environmental professionals are certified and licensed to perform lead abatement.

Lead Abatement Methods

Enclosure: This is the easiest of all abatement methods, typically for larger surfaces. A wall covering is used to simply cover the lead paint.

Paint Removal: This abatement method involves complete removal of lead-based paint. As it will create dust, it should be performed only by a certified professional, and the most advanced equipment.

Encapsulation: With this method, the lead-based pain is not only covered but also sealed using a specific coating. Although less expensive, this treatment is not appropriate for all surfaces.

Replacement: This option involves removing and replacing the door, window, or molding that has been painted with lead-based paint.

Lead Removal VS Encapsulation

Lead Removal

The ideal way to combat lead hazards is to eliminate them completely, it is a permanent solution that eliminates the possibility that people or the environment will be impacted by lead hazards.

Greater expertise and more safety measures are required for removal compared to encapsulation. For instance, sealed environments must be constructed before abrasives or water are used to remove lead-based paint. These containments prevent lead dust from dispersing into the atmosphere, where it can harm plants, animals, people and water sources. Any lead abatement project that disturbs more than six square feet of surface in an interior room requires a specialized team of EPA-certified lead abatement contractors.

Our EPA-certified lead abatement supervisor will oversee the process of lead removal. The process requires Precision Environmental workers to follow very stringent safety protocols to protect the people living within the residence. It’s crucial that you work with a contractor who strictly employs only EPA-certified lead abatement workers. With the right equipment and proper education, the abatement process can be fast and painless. Property owners prefer the approach of lead abatement to encapsulants because it ensures that all traces of lead-based paint are removed from household surfaces. It is the ultimate method of protection for residential and commercial property owners.

Lead Encapsulation

Lead encapsulation refers to covering up or containing a surface coated in lead-based paint. Encapsulation is generally safer for workers to complete than removal, is less costly and requires less downtime.

Lead encapsulation methods include:

  • Sealing in the lead hazard by using encapsulation paint.
  • Attaching adhesive barriers to the surface of an asset coated in lead-based paint.
  • Isolating the lead hazard by building a structure around it.
  • Each method is theoretically effective, but practical challenges immediately arise.

For instance, applying overcoats of encapsulation paint will only work if the underlying lead-based coating is in good condition. Overcoats are useless if the paint they cover chips and peels away from substrates. Lead Encapsulation is a temporary fix. Even coats of encapsulation paint only last a few years. The costs of constant assessments and recoats add up. Hard barriers and built structures also won’t last forever. At some point, a lead hazard must be permanently addressed.

What's the best long term Lead Removal option?

Although lead encapsulants seem like an ideal solution since they are cheap and easy to implement, lead abatement is actually going to be your better option. In the end, you can be confident that there are absolutely no more lead-contaminated surfaces inside your home.

Why Lead Abatement is important

Lead abatement helps prevent lead poisoning, also known as plumbism and saturnism, which is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body. Exposure to lead can occur by ingesting contaminated air, water, dust, or food, and by coming in contact with contaminated consumer products. Symptoms of lead poisoning may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, memory problems, and intellectual disability. According to the World Health Organization, children are at greater risk of exposure because they are more likely to put objects in their mouth that contain lead paint, and they absorb a greater proportion of the lead they eat.

How Lead Abatement is performed

All our employees must take classes and receive a certificate of completion to maintain licensing. Our trained professionals use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when doing lead abatement to prevent lead dust contamination.

  • Enclosure covering over large surfaces
  • Encapsulation covering and sealing with a coating
  • Replacement removing and replacing affected material
  • Paint Removal

Once taken away, materials with lead-based paint are often routed to hazardous waste landfills authorized to receive it.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Guidelines for the evaluation and control of Lead Hazards in housing can be used by those required to identify and control lead hazards such as property owners, landlords, operators, and maintenance managers.

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