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Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely ADRA (Australian Dust Removalists Association) Incorporated
Link re: lead dust removal

by Elizabeth O'Brien, Manager, Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS) run by The LEAD Group Inc.

Update 30 October 2014 [LID 9435]

Despite all the Australian literature referring to pre-1970 homes and offices as being the problem, it was only in 1997 that the allowable level of lead in residential and commercial paint in Australia went down to 0.1% which is still higher than the US 1978 standard of less than 0.06% lead.

Non-residential paint was only controlled for its lead content since 1st January 2010. So, for anyone working on the paint on a pre-1997 home or a pre-2010 building, the best thing to do is to ASSUME THE PAINT IS LEADED and deal with it in a lead-safe way. As your company policy is to test for lead before deciding on the renovation method, then the Lead Check colour-change kits available in good hardware stores and paint trade centres will let you know whether the paint contains more than 0.5% lead. If your store doesn't stock Lead Check kits, you may need to tell the store manager that the importers/wholesalers include: 

  • Blastech ph 07 3329 5000;

  • Zinsser ph 0296846060;

  • Air Met Scientific Pty Ltd ph 1800 000 744, 03 8878 3300;

  • and Blast-One International ph 08 8292 2000, 1800 882 229.

Once you've either assumed or found that the paint is leaded, don't disperse it as fumes or dust or even by water-blasting unless the debris is vacuum extracted, as with a Blue Vac available for hire from Let’s Clean in Sydney. The next step is, ask the doctor to test everyone in the painting/building work team for their blood lead levels, especially if the other non-painting team members HAVE to be in the building while renovating one cordoned-off room at a time. Office staff or contractors certainly can't use any room that is actually being renovated. Children and pregnant women or those wishing to conceive should never be involved in the work or exposed to chemicals used in the renovation.

In Primary Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning — The Only Solution (available by subscription only )By John F. Rosen, M.D., and Paul Mushak, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2001; 344:1470-1471 May 10, 2001, you can read why full lead paint removal is the best public health policy and best for all the future residents/tenants of a home, childcare centre or other building.

 Their 2-page article states, inter alia:

“For the primary prevention of lead poisoning from paint, we recommend permanent abatement -- that is, the complete removal or replacement of lead paint before a child lives in a home.”

Full article available here: http://www.nmic.org/nyccelp/medical-studies/Rosen-Mushak-editorial-NEJM.htm  

If the building owner can't afford full paint removal, then lead-safe paint preparation is the minimum requirement to manage the paint, ie wet-scraping (spray surface with a water spray bottle held in one hand then scrape paint onto plastic sheeting taped or held down all the way around the edges), wet-sanding (using water spray bottle again and wet-and-dry sandpaper or sanding sponge intended to be used wet), then sugar-soap and then wipe down with water. After this preparation, the new paint should adhere as long as you have also solved any damp or mould problems too. Even when over-coated with well-adhering non-leaded paint, the old lead paint underneath is still a potential hazard down the track when it needs repainting again. For full instructions, products, services and processes for lead-safe paint preparation or full lead paint removal or ceiling dust removal, please see:

"Lead Alert - The Six Step Guide To Painting Your Home" at

[Your local Council or your hardware or trade paint store or any paint contractor or Master Painters Australia or the Australian Paint Manufacturers Federation (ph 1800807568) or the federal Department of the Environment’s Community Information Unit (ph 1800803772) should be able to provide anyone who asks, with (multiple) free hard copies of The Six Step Guide colour booklet.]

If someone is being paid to do lead risk work (eg managing paint or ceiling dust containing more than 1% lead) in NSW, they should read the: “Guide for applicants for lead notifications” - January 2012 at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/Lead_risk_work_notifications_guideline_3040.pdf

Notification to WorkCover is required within seven days of the determination that the work is lead risk work. Notification is required to be made to WorkCover on a day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, public holiday or bank holiday. If it has been determined that it is lead risk work or if it is unable to be determined whether it is lead risk work, the employer must complete the: “Notification of lead risk work: Form”, at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/Notification-of-lead-risk-work-form-3631.pdf

There are some useful recommendations in the following links for Queensland contractors who are required to work with lead re:- “Lead: Working with lead-based paint; Lead paint removal/residential buildings audit checklist; and Lead audit checklist” at:

NSW state government has published the following: "Lead Safe: A Renovators Guide to the Dangers of Lead" – which is available on-line at http://www.lead.org.au/fs/lead_safe/A_Renovator_Guide_To_The_Dangers_Of_Lead_Lead_Safe.pdf

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has neglected to web-publish its excellent "Lead Safe Fact Sheet - Lead in Ceiling Dust", so The LEAD Group has also web-published it at http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fst37.html.

US Government websites have much useful information on lead paint including: US HUD Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control - LINKS to Resources incl: About Lead Paint (Lead Info Pamphlet); HUD's Office Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control Strategic Plan; Lead Regulations; American Healthy Homes Survey: Lead and Arsenic Findings, at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/healthy_homes

HUD publications include the world’s-best-practice 874-page “bible” of lead paint management guidelines: Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing, 2nd edition, July 2012, downloadable from http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/lbp/hudguidelines/index.cfm

US EPA WEB-PORTAL: LEAD: eg. Learn about lead; Protect your Family; Before you buy or rent a home built before 1978; Test your Home; Renovate Right for Contractors & Trainers; EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program; Home Danger Zone Finder, at http://www2.epa.gov/lead#info

Australia's leading company for full lead paint removal, Let's Clean (in Sydney), can organise hire, lease or contracting of water rinsing equipment (called "Blue Vac" System) and sale of Heritage No 1 poultice for removal of lead paint and sale of Soy-Gel chemical stripper for removal of acrylic paint that might be on top of lead paint, and hire of a Speedheater infrared gun for direct stripping of lead paint eg from woodwork. (Chemical stripping is not recommended for woodwork, as lead from the stripped paint may be released from the woodgrain when the wood is sanded prior to re-coating). See:

Other full paint removal products & equipment include:

To hire a painter with Lead Paint Management Training, see http://www.painters.edu.au;/ INSERT YOUR POSTCODE THEN CLICK LEAD PAINT MANAGEMENT, AT http://www.painters.edu.au/Find-A-Painter.htm – but if that provides no one in your area, please see the very old list at http://www.lead.org.au/paintersall.html or in some states you can phone the Master Painters Australia (MPA) in your state to ask them to refer you to a lead-trained painter in your area. One painter who has done lead paint removal in many parts of Australia is listed on The LEAD Group’s new Lead Safe World website at http://www.leadsafeworld.com/partners/lead-safe/

See other useful guidance on hiring contractors and on training at:

See information on the hazards of cavity dust and when it should be removed, at:

It is simply not recommended that you do your own ceiling dust removal so please contact a member of the Australian Dust Removalists Association (ADRA) - see http://www.adra.com.au/camcos.html - who can carry out the work in compliance with the ADRA "Code of Practice" - see http://www.adra.com.au/cop.html - and the "GUIDANCE NOTE FOR CEILING DUSTS CONTAINING LEAD" – previously at  http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/C2C40ECC-4F0F-4CAB-B865-4E1B4D808C3C/0/ceiling_dust_containing_lead_guidance_note_4955.pdf - by NSW WorkCover Authority, now at http://www.adra.com.au/WorkCover_NSW_Ceiling_Dust_Guidance_Note_200609.pdf 

If you have an old building then it's a pretty safe assumption that the paint will be leaded and that soil and dust will consequently be lead contaminated from previous flaking or chalking paint or from paint removal or release of building cavity dust during demolition etc. So testing for lead is probably an unnecessary expense prior to renovating unless you need to convince someone to use lead-safe renovation techniques or that your sub-contractors are not responsible for any historical lead contamination of the building and surrounds.

But AFTER you have managed your lead paint and cavity dust, THEN is an excellent time to test the dust and soil to determine if further lead-contaminated dust clean-up or soil management is necessary, and this should be done prior to young children (or couples wishing to conceive) or pets using the renovated areas. Please see details of The LEAD Group's excellent DIY-sampling for home lead assessment kits at http://www.leadsafeworld.com/solutions/lead-group-diy-sampling-lab-analysis-lead-test-kits/ and order online by secure Paypal payment, or phone and order a kit today.

Anyone involved in the work should ask the doctor for a follow-up blood lead test a couple of weeks into the work or at the end of the work if the renovation period is short, to determine that their blood lead level has not gone up as a result of non-lead-safe practices.

Finally, please become a consumer who demands more information and warning labels eg about the dangers of lead paint, in the paint preparation section of your hardware store and especially on products like sandpaper, sanders, heatguns, flameguns etc - all the things you can poison yourself with and contaminate a home with. You can phone the Community Information Unit in Canberra on 1800803772, to request the booklet: "Lead Alert - The Six Step Guide To Painting Your Home" to be sent for FREE to your store or all your paint sub-contractors! If you would like to refer other people to this Info Pack, it is online at http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fst38.html

Good luck with the work.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien
President, The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) Group Inc. (environmental health charity)
www.lead.org.au

Manager, Lead Safe World Project (LSWP) – launched 26th October 2013 during the WHO Inaugural International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (20th-26th October 2013)
www.leadsafeworld.com

Lead Advisor, LEAD Group test kit results interpretation service
www.leadsafeworld.com.au/solutions/lead-group-diy-sampling-lab-analysis-lead-test-kits

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The LEAD Group Inc. Fact Sheet Index

NSW Lead Reference Centre and NSW Government Publications On this site

  1. About the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

  2. Main Sources of Lead

  3. How Would You Know If You or Your Child Was lead poisoned?

  4. Lead aware housekeeping

  5. Ceiling dust & lead poisoning

  6. Is your yard lead safe?
    你的院子是铅安全的吗

  7. Health Impacts of lead poisoning

  8. Rotary Questionnaire

  9. Lead poisoned Pets and Your Family

  10. Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire

  11. Is Your Child Safe From Lead? - What Can You Do About Lead?

  12. Lead in Drinking Water in Australia

  13. Have We Really Resolved The Lead Issue?

  14. The Importance of the Availability of "Spot Tests" for Lead in Paint

  15. Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy

  16. Breastfeeding and Lead

  17. Lead in breast milk

  18. Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

  19. Renting and Lead

  20. What to do if you have too much lead in your tank water

  21. Lead Contamination in Stormwater

  22. Contamination At Shooting Ranges

  23. Banned: Leaded Wick Candles

  24. Lead, Ageing and Death
    铅,衰老和死亡

  25. Metal miniatures: How to minimise the risks of lead poisoning and contamination

  26. 7 Point Plan for the MANAGEMENT OF LEAD by Australian parents and carers

  27. Countries where Leaded Petrol is Possibly Still Sold for Road Use, As at 17th June 2011

  28. Lead Poisoning And The Brain - Cognitive Deficits And Mental Illness

  29. Facts and Firsts of Lead

  30. Lead mining royalties by state and territory

  31. Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group

  32. Preventative Strategies of The LEAD Group

  33. What do Doctors need to do about Lead?

  34. A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

  35. Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works

  36. Glass Web & Service-Users, Experts & Volunteers, by Country; Countries with Leaded Petrol for Road Use & Worst Pollution

  37. Lead in ceiling dust

  38. Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely

  39. Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here??
    埃斯佩兰斯议会调查后续情况说明书:从这里去哪里??

  40. Broken Hill lead miners factsheet 1893 with Note 20081015

  41. Helping a Doctor Help 35,000 Lead-Poisoned People Around the Lead Smelter at La Oroya in Peru
    Ayuda a un doctor que ayuda 35,000 personas envenenadas por plomo alrededor de la fundidora de plomo en la Oroya-Peru
    案例档案:帮助一个医生救助在秘鲁的拉奥罗亚的铅冶炼厂周围的35000铅中毒的人民全球铅咨询和支持的服务机构是怎末工作的

  42. Fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

  43. Iron Nutrition & Lead Toxicity
    Informe de Acciones – Hierro y Plomo en la Nutrición
    情况说明书铁的营养和铅的毒性

  44. Sanitarium-Are You getting Enough Iron

  45. Do-It-Yourself-Lead-Safe-Test-Kits-flyer

  46. Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  47. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to both adults and children
    血铅水平高于
    2微克/分升和低于10微克/分升对予成人和儿童的危险。

  48. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There A Link?

  49. In CHINA - Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result
    在中国血铅测试:谁应该去检查,什么时候,如何对待不同的测试结果

  50. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you take advantage of the Australian government's Energy Efficient Homes Package: Insulation Program

  51. Alperstein et al Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals 1994

  52. Ceiling Dust WorkCover Guide Lee Schreiber Final Nov 1999

  53. What can I do about climate change AND lead?

  54. The Need for Expert Clinical Assessments in Diagnosis Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  55. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you have insulation installed

  56. Thirty Thought-Starters on Ceiling Void Dust in Homes

  57. Pectin: Panacea for both lead poisoning and lead contamination

  58. Nutrients that reduce lead poisoning June 2010

  59. Lead poisoning and menopause

  60. Fact sheet For Schoolkids From Professor Knowlead About Lead

  61. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia

  62. Mencegah kontak dengan timbal di tempat kerja di Indonesia

  63. How to Protect Your Family from Lead in Indonesia

  64. Bagaimana melindungi keluargamu dari timbal di Indonesia

  65. Cigarette Smoking & Lead Toxicity
     صحيفة معلومات: التدخين والتسمم بالرصاص

  66. Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For Occupational Lead Exposure

  67. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to children

  68. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to adults

  69. Biosolids used as fertilizer in China and other countries
    在中国和其他国家生物固体作肥料

  70. What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?

  71. Alcohol’s link to higher lead and iron levels

  72. USA Case Definition of Adult (including Occupational) & Child Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLL)

  73. Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children - A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention

  74. Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet Dangers of lead for roofers

  75. Let’s Make Leaded Petrol History - Let’s Make Leaded Gasoline History

  76. Lead, Your Health & the Environment. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese 

  77. Lead Safe Housekeeping

  78. Old Lead Paint

  79. Working safely with lead

  80. A Renovator's Guide To The Dangers Of Lead (Brochure 30 pages)

  81. A Guide For Health Care Professionals (Brochure 34 pages)

  82. A Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead (Brochure 20 pages)

  83. Lead Hazard Management In Children's Services (Brochure 15 pages)

  84. A Guide To Dealing With Soil That Might Be Lead-Contaminated

  85. Exposure Assessment: Lead Neurotoxicity - Is the Center for Disease Control's goal to reduce lead below 10 µg/dl blood in all children younger than 72 months by 2010, good enough?

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 Last Updated 30 October 2014
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