The only way to permanently remove lead from dust, paint and soil is through a process known as abatement.
It’s a ‘lead hazard reduction’ method with a 20-year expected life. There are four types of abatement: enclosure, paint removal, replacement and encapsulation.
Types Of Abatement
- Enclosure: This simple method involves merely covering lead paint with some type of flexible wall covering like a panel or gypsum board. This method is best for dealing with large, flat surfaces.
- Paint Removal: This is much more complicated and tends to be done by professionals. The thing is that the paint removal process manufactures a huge quantity of lead fumes and dust.
- Replacement: This tactic involves literally removing lead-painted objects (doors, windows, moldings) and replacing them with brand new, non-lead ones.
- Encapsulation: This strategy is all about covering and sealing the lead paint with a special type of coating. It’s one of the more budget-friendly options.
The main point of these types of abatement is to get rid of the lead paint. The premise is that the lead found in dust and soil came from the lead paint.
Lead abatement can be very dangerous if it’s not done properly. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a professional abatement contractor. If you try to do it yourself and you screw up, you could end up actually increasing the lead levels in your home.
Your best bet therefore is to hire a professional abatement team. However, this can be a very expensive endeavor. Below, you’ll find tips and guidelines to keep in mind if you decide to pursue abatement on your own:
The government tightly regulates the process of abatement. There are many rules regarding how it may be completed. Not properly following these rules could end up costing you plenty of money in fees and fines.
Some states require that anybody who performs abatement first get a certification in proper abatement procedures. Make certain you check the laws in your particular state. Consider getting the certification even if it’s not regarded, because the knowledge could prove very useful.
Protect The Work Area
Before you perform abatement, make sure to relocate everybody. This means kids and pets both need to be moved to another location until the process is complete. Also, set up warning signs around doorways into the designated work area.
Wear Protective Clothing
Make sure you protect yourself with appropriate clothing. Disposable coveralls are especially useful for minimizing the risk of lead contamination. Also make sure you use gloves.
Wear Protective Equipment
Depending on the type of abatement you choose, you may need to wear a respirator with HEPA cartridges. This is another reason why you should get certified. Removing lead can be risky to your health.
Don’t Smoke/Eat In The Work Area
Avoid smoking, eating or any other leisurely activity while in the designated work area. Also, make certain you thoroughly clean yourself (this includes washing your hands) after you finish working.
Contain The Lead
Abatement manufactures a lot of residue. Do everything in your power to keep said dust, debris and residue within the designated work area. The last thing you want is to accidentally expose your family to it.
You should really consider hiring a professional firm for abatement. If you choose to go at it alone, just make sure you perform the proper research beforehand. Also, consider getting a lead blood test after you compete it, because it’s likely that you will face some lead exposure during abatement. However, if you follow all the rules and regulations of abatement, the level of risks you face will be far lower.