Lead abatement

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Lead is a naturally occurring metal with unique characteristics, unlike common metals on Earth’s crust. For example, it is highly malleable, ductile, a poor conductor of heat and electricity, and highly resistant to corrosion. These characteristics of lead metal have made it useful in many industrial applications. It’s widely used in manufacturing storage batteries, weight belts for diving, and lead crystal glass manufacturing.

Due to its corrosion resistance, lead is also used as a covering in the manufacture of roofing materials, conduits, and electric cables that pass underwater. While it remains a valuable metal in the industrial environment, lead metal has been associated with numerous deadly health complications—a phenomenon called lead poisoning.

Lead Abatement Solutions

CVE is able to facilitate a complete solution when dealing with all aspects of asbestos abatement and lead abatement issues from identification to remediation and resolution.

In the past, lead was added to paint to retard deterioration, improve durability, and enhance the quality. The disturbance of lead-containing coatings is regulated by the EPA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and many state plans.

The presence of lead in coatings is also controlled by the Housing and Urban Development in target housing. The mere existence of lead in coatings is generally not a problem. The generation of lead dust occurs when surfaces containing lead are allowed to deteriorate or be sanded, drilled or heated during the renovation of a structure.

Once created, the dust can be inhaled when airborne or picked up and swallowed through contamination from dust-laden surfaces. Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly; can remain in the area long after the improper work is completed. Asbestos removal and asbestos abatement are important to prevent airborne asbestos from entering the lungs and causing damage.

Children can be at greater risk to lead exposure as their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead, while their lungs are more sensitive to the damaging effects of asbestos.

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Lead abatement involves safely removing lead from residential, commercial, and industrial environments to protect public health and safety. The process is designed to permanently remove leaded paint from designated buildings without exposing people to lead poisoning. For this reason, homeowners, companies, and public facilities are supposed to seek lead abatement services from certified lead abatement contractors such as CVE, among others.

Lead properties make it useful in many applications, some of which expose people to lead poisoning. For example, lead was added to paint to improve quality and durability before the colonial era. While it made the paint extremely durable, it became a potential cause of lead poisoning for residents, especially young children.
 

Children Are Vulnerable To Lead Poisoning

 

While everyone is at risk of the toxic effects of lead and its compounds, young children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning. This is because kids are more likely to swallow lead particles by putting lead-contaminated objects into their mouths. Besides, children’s bodies absorb more lead than adults making them the most vulnerable to lead poisoning since their bones, brain, and nervous system are still growing. The accumulative lead poisoning may cause cognitive deficit hence diminishing children learning abilities. It can also lead to behavioral disruption, such as hyperactivity, aggression, and impulsive behavior.

Additionally, exposure to high lead levels can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth in pregnant women. Lead can also enter a fetus through the mother’s placenta and cause severe damage to an unborn child’s brain and nervous system. As a result, the child might be born with an intellectual disability.

High lead exposure could also cause convulsions, coma, or even death. Kids who survive lead poisoning are likely to live with behavioral disorders and intellectual disabilities. Those exposed to low levels of lead poisoning suffer from low intelligence quotients (IQ) and antisocial behavior. Other health complications resulting from lead poisoning in children are anemia, renal impairment, hypertension, and immunotoxicity, among other health issues.

Does Lead Poisoning Affect Adults?

 

Although children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning, adults are also at risk of various sicknesses. For example, cumulative lead poisoning can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, nervous system, lungs, and other internal organs. Other adult health complications from lead poisoning include memory loss, joint pain, vision and hearing loss, infertility, and high blood pressure. The following are the common signs of lead poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Stomachaches
  • Fatigue or irritability

The symptoms may differ from patient to patient according to the level of lead exposure. However, lead toxicity remains the same regardless of whether it is inhaled or swallowed.

 

Crucial Steps To Mitigating Lead Poisoning Risks

 

The burden of diseases caused by lead poisoning is evident. According to WHO, nearly 2 million lives were lost in 2019, resulting from exposure to lead poisoning. As a result, lead is now ranked among the top ten chemicals that have become a significant concern to public health. Since leaded paint remains a primary source of exposure in many countries, the World Health Organization partnered with the United Nations Environment Program to eliminate leaded paint.

While WHO efforts to eliminate leaded paint are excellent, it would be more prosperous if supported by lead abatement. This is because, even if the leaded paint ends, those living in buildings that had been painted with lead paint risk exposure. This means if the world is ever going to be free from lead poisoning, uprooting the problem from its roots could be prudent.

If you are suspicious that you may have lead in your home, commercial, or industrial facility, follow the following steps to confirm your suspicion.

Find Out When The Building Was Built

Leaded paint dates back to the colonial era when the lead pigment was added to paints to improve their durability. However, health officials became aware of the health risks from lead exposure by the mid-1900s and began removing it from the market. By 1978, lead paint was entirely banned from the market. This means a home built before this time was definitely painted with leaded paint. If you suspect the presence of lead, first find out when the house was built. If it was built before 1978, consider a paint inspection.

Paint Inspection

A paint inspection will determine how much lead is present in your home. However, the mere presence of lead in the paint doesn’t indicate a health risk. This is because if the paint is in good condition, it doesn’t pose any health risks to the occupants. In this case, the building could be repainted to protect its users from exposure.

On the other hand, if the paint is deteriorating or peeling off, the residents risk lead poisoning by inhaling the lead dust or swallowing leaded paint chips. Therefore, if the paint inspection shows the presence of lead in deteriorating paint, proceed to lead testing.

Lead Testing

Lead testing is designed to help you determine whether the lead in the paint dust or chips poses potential health issues. It also helps determine whether you need professional lead abatement services or not. There are several ways to conduct lead testing. First, you can consider a home test kit that allows you to test the presence of lead from home. Alternatively, you can seek assistance from an environmental lab or a licensed lead risk assessor. In the case of an environmental lab test for lead, you will be required to send paint samples to the lab, which might be costly. However, you can opt for a licensed lead risk assessor.

Get Certified Professionals In Lead Abatement

Contact your local building department if your premises test positive for lead and need lead abatement. This is because; most municipalities have strict guidelines on the removal and disposal of leaded debris hence the need for a certified professional in lead abatement. Another benefit of hiring a lead abatement expert is to protect your loved ones and the general public from contamination.

Lead abatement professionals are purposely trained to handle lead removal without exposing themselves or the public to lead poisoning. They have special tools, such as a HEPA vacuum, designed particularly for lead dust removal. They also arrive at the job site in hazmat suits and masks. Lead abatement is unquestionably risky and shouldn’t be done using DIY guidelines.

As stated earlier, lead abatement is essential for deteriorating or peeling paint that has tested positive with the potential for lead poisoning. However, you will also need a lead abatement if you plan to renovate, remodel, or demolish a building built before 1978 when leaded paint was finally banned. The lead abatement process is regulated by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). You should, therefore, notify the EPA before the lead abatement. But since you are working with a certified lead abatement contractor, it is their responsibility to inform the EPA of their planned abatement activity. Ideally, they should do so five business days before the lead abatement project. However, the EPA can be notified the following day after the commencement of lead abatement work if it occurred as an emergency due to a discovery of high levels of lead in the residents’ blood.

Follow the following steps when preparing for lead abatement:

  • Remove furniture, carpets, and other objects from the rooms you’ll be working on.
  • Cover the entire floor with a 6 mm plastic sheet and secure its edges to the bottom of the walls using duct tape.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and cover heating vents and registers with duct tape or clear plastic.
  • Close all windows to prevent the spreading of lead dust to other rooms.
  • Seal off the work area with a 6-mm plastic sheet and clear tape.

Whether you are DIY or have contacted a professional lead abatement expert, following proper safety protocols during lead abatement is vital to preventing exposure to lead dust. It also helps ensure the complete removal of toxic lead and its compounds.