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  QUESTION: Is it possible that this could be the odour of lead contamination?,19 Sep 2006, New South Wales Australia


We have recently renovated our home, encasing lead painted walls within gyprock. However, in one room where we removed a window & covered it in with gyprock, there is a persisting smell - which could be described as sweet metallic. We have removed the carpet, polished the floorboards, painted, cleaned...is it possible that this could be the odour of lead contamination? If so, what more can we do?
ANSWER: 20 Sep 2006

Dear Melanie,
I have a particularly well-developed sense of smell and I have never smelled lead when it was simply sitting anywhere (eg church pipe organs are made of lead and most pre-1970 buildings are painted with lead paint) and the only other reports I've ever received from our callers are about fumes eg when people are heat gunning lead paint or walking around a lead smelter they have reported a metallic smell in the air. So I'm guessing that you either have the most supersensitive sense of smell or there is a nearby source of lead fumes or you are smelling something that is not lead fumes. I fear this answer is not as useful as you'd have liked. Can you think of any reason why there would be a metallic smell in the air knowing that lead that is in solid form, really doesn't smell that much?
It sounds like you have done an excellent lead abatement job so, congratulations!
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien
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