Lead paint was banned in the United States back in 1978, due to the serious health risks it can bring. If you’re planning on renovating an older home built or painted before 1978, it’s possible that you could run into some lead paint on the walls, as well as additional lead products that may need to be removed. From the health risks to recycling and knowing when to call a professional, here’s what you need to know in order to get the job done and remove hazardous waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
The Dangers of Lead
Lead is a chemical element that in the past has been used in a number of products, including paint and pipes. However, it can pose a serious risk to human health when inhaled or ingested, and can lead to lead poisoning – a serious condition that generally happens over time when lead builds up in the body. For those looking to renovate a house that may have lead paint on the walls, it’s important to go about the job in the right way in order to keep everyone involved safe – it’s also important to realize that even though lead paint has been painted over in the past, it can still pose a health risk. This is because in addition to the dangers of leaded paint chipping, peeling or cracking, sanding or stripping a surface that has lead paint on it can cause the release of lead dust particles into the air, and since there is no safe amount of lead for the human body, it can be very dangerous if inhaled. However, there are also other aspects of the home that can potentially contain lead to be aware of.
What to Do with Lead Paint Chips
When doing a renovation on an old home that contains lead paint, it’s very possible that the paint can be peeling, cracking and chipping, meaning that you’ll likely come across lead paint chips either before or during the renovation itself – especially if your renovation process includes scraping paint off window frames, trim, and other household fixtures. With the dangers of lead in mind, it’s necessary to dispose of the paint remnants properly, as they are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW), and should be treated as such. When planning to dispose of lead paint chips, safely containing the paint chips and then contacting your nearest HHW facility for further instruction is the best way to go.
Recycling Old Lead Water Pipes
In addition to paint, lead was also known to be used in water pipes as well. When doing a home renovation that involves the removal of old lead water pipes, you can deal with them in a safe way by recycling them – in fact, your local metal recycling company may be able to take them off your hands, though it’s important to keep in mind that since lead is considered a specialized product, it’s quite possible that not all recycling facilities will accept it. For such reasons, calling ahead and inquiring about the matter can save you an unnecessary trip and help to plan out what to do – if they don’t happen to accept leaded pipes for recycling, you can still call your city/county solid waste agency to get an idea on acceptable places to take it.
When to Get a Professional Involved
Dealing with lead paint within a home should always be done with an abundance of caution. This includes using the right supplies, such as a HEPA vacuum, the right kind of respiratory mask, drop cloths, gloves and goggles in order to protect yourself and others. While you can use special paint to contain the lead paint, you may also choose to have the lead paint removed altogether by a professional. It’s also a good idea to call in a professional to properly handle the job if you’re simply not comfortable dealing with lead paint in the first place – after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These professionals will also be equipped dispose of the waste safely.
Potential lead exposure when doing a home renovation is a serious matter that should never be taken lightly. With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of the health risks involved and to take the proper steps when planning to deal with any sort of lead product within the home, ensuring that it is then disposed of safely.