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QUESTION: Is there a recommended paint contractor in Victoria for lead paint management? 08/02/09   Victoria, Australia

I currently live in a 100 year old weatherboard home in which is in need of an exterior paint as the paint has begun to peel.  We also have double hung windows which need to be repainted. We have tested the paint and it is lead based.  As we have a 1 year old child I am concerned about how to deal with this situation.  I have contacted a painter who has done a lead paint management course but am still hesitant as I want the job to be done as safe as possible.  I have sent off a paint test and also soil tests.  I have heard of a product called Peel away. Have you heard of this product and what do you think about it? I was thinking about replacing the windows but think that it will create a lot of dust.  Also do you know where we can hire a HEPA vacuum?

Thankyou for your time

Regards

Jodie.

ANSWER: February 9 2009

Dear Jodie,

I wish I could say "I have no hesitation in recommending so-and-so for lead paint management in Victoria", but I can't, until I receive feedback from Victorians who have utilised the services of Master Painters Association members who have done the lead paint management course. If you do go ahead with your quote, please let me know the outcome. When I do a Google search of my own website, I find that "Peel Away" is mentioned about 15 times, including in http://www.lead.org.au/q&a/2004/lead_in_childs_bedroom_20040116001.html which  states that there are other chemical strippers designed for lead paint removal, besides Peel Away. I have just asked our webmaster to update that page to say: "purchase Heritage No1 poultice from Cathedral Stone in Melbourne by phoning 1300 722 155."

You will also see that at http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fst38.html you can find links to info on 4 different strippers: "Peel Away", "Citristrip" (by The Flood Company), "Heritage No. 1" and "Soy Gel" (from Let's Clean). We do not recommend methylene chloride strippers and the main thing you have to think about if you choose any of the strippers mentioned above is how to remove the final 5-10% of paint that typically remains after the chemical stripping. The "max elbow grease" method is manual wet-sanding. The high-tech approach is with the Blue Vac from Let's Clean but it is unfortunately not available in Melbourne (unless you can talk your contractor into buying one).

Yes, window removal can be dusty and the process needs to be water-sprayed (from a hand-held spray bottle) to wet down the dust and keep it from being airborne. AAH Contracting Pty Ltd is the only company we know of that hires out HEPA vacs to the public (when they are not using them themselves). Phone AAH on 03 9887 4342, or mobile 041 164 5440. Any lead paint removal contractor or lead-aware builder worth their salt, will own their own industrial HEPA vac.

I hope this helps in your decision making process.

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

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