QUESTION: Precautions to take when using a heat gun, 26 May 2005, Victoria Australia
I came to your website while searching for "heat gun"; I read the cases about people suffering health effects from lead while using heat guns and wondered if you are aware of an appropriate mask/respirator or other personal protective equipment that is suitable for this type of work.
I have some reclaimed windows that I plan to strip and repaint or varnish.
ANSWER: 27 May 2005
The only type of heat gun that is recommended is one that has a choice of
temperature settings and then it is only recommended IF you use it on the
low temperature setting. As an essential you would also wear a dual filter
respirator properly fitted to your face. The two filters would be a HEPA
filter and a carbon filter. Ensure proper care of the respirator so it is
never lying around getting contaminated on the inside. Working outside is an
added precaution (though certainly not a replacement for wearing a
respirator) but you must be sure to capture on plastic sheeting (and
double wrap in plastic at the end of each work session ready for disposal)
the paint debris that will come off during the process. Don't work on windy
days when you can't contain the debris to the plastic. The trouble with
chemical strippers on wooden surfaces is that the stripper can dissolve some
of the lead in the paint and take it on into the wood grain giving a
non-visible potential source of lead dust during the necessary sanding stage
to prepare the wood for repainting / re-varnishing.
Best of luck.
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