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Hazards of Lead Abatement

Learn More About Problems With Lead Removal

Ever since the risks of lead poisoning were discovered and lead paint was banned, there have been arguments about the best ways to avoid future exposure through lead abatement. Unfortunately, some abatement and removal methods can be hazardous. While there are many ways to reduce or remove lead-based paint some can actually increase the risk of lead exposure. It’s important to pick the safest method for the project and the goal always is to reduce or remove the lead while creating as little lead dust as possible.

At the Law Offices of Charles N. Rock in Newburgh and the Bronx, our premises liability attorney represents clients throughout the northeast U.S. who have suffered lead poisoning due to lead abatement hazards. Contact us for a free consultation with experienced premises liability lawyer Charles Rock.

Make Sure Your Abatement Project Is Being Done Safely. Read the guidelines provided by the local department of health! Ensuring safety during an abatement is critical to preventing further and even greater exposure.

During abatement work you can stir up dust or create fumes containing lead. This is very dangerous for adults, children and pets. Always use a method that creates the least amount of dust and fumes.

You should consider hiring a professional contractor with experience in working safely with lead removal. Whether you’re going to do the job yourself or hire somebody, it’s important that you to be certain the job is done safely.

Basic Safety According the New York Department of Health Guidelines

  • Children and pregnant women must not do any lead paint removal work, and they should stay out of the work area until clean-up is complete. (See “Clean-Up” section.) If you’re not sure you can clean up every day, arrangements for temporary living quarters should be made.
  • Work in one room at a time, and seal off the work area from the rest of the house, including any heating or ventilation ducts, using heavy plastic sheets (6-mil thick is good).
  • EVERYTHING in the room (furniture, rugs, carpets, floors, bedding, drapes, dishware, food, toys, etc.) must be removed, or covered with TWO sheets of plastic (again, heavy, 6-mil plastic) and all the seams taped. Plastic used to cover the floor should be secured to the wall or baseboard with duct tape.
  • Workers should wear disposable coveralls, shoes, hair covering, goggles and a respirator approved by NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) or MSHA (the Mine Safety and Health Administration). Approved respirators will have an approval number on them, (i.e., TC-21C-xxx). Only HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) respirators will filter lead dust and fumes. Simple paper or fabric dust masks will NOT protect a worker from lead dust.
  • To avoid ingesting lead, workers should not eat, drink or smoke on the job.
  • Workers need to clean up carefully. Before leaving the work area, they should dispose of their coveralls, and remove the dust from their clothes with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered vacuum cleaner. And workers should shower as soon as they can after work, so they don’t spread lead dust around their homes.

Methods of Abatement:

Enclosure

One way of reducing exposure to lead paint is to cover the surface with a new surface — by putting up drywall or by covering windowsills with vinyl or aluminum, for example. This doesn’t require the removal of the lead paint, so this is often the easiest solution. But if the new surface is ever removed or damaged, the lead problem returns. Materials used to enclose lead-painted surfaces should be durable and fire resistant, such as gypsum board, aluminum, vinyl, plywood paneling, laminates, acrylic sheets, plexiglass, fiberglass, or tile.

When lead abatement is not done properly, it can cause more of a lead hazard than already existed. No matter which lead abatement methods are used, elaborate safety guidelines must be followed carefully to avoid further lead exposure.

In some cases, lead cannot be safely removed from painted surfaces without exposing residents to more lead. In these cases, it may be legal to cover the lead with a special type of thick paint or carefully installed sheet rock.

Don’t Assume Lead Abatement Got Rid of All the Lead

If a lead abatement was done in your home, that does not necessarily mean your child is no longer being exposed to lead. There may still be lead dust present, especially in common areas, which are often not included in health department abatement orders.

If you live in Newburgh, New Paltz, Kingston, Middletown, New Windsor, Poughkeepsie, Kings County or surrounding areas in New York, and you are concerned that your child is being exposed to lead, you should consider getting a blood test done. Contact the Laws offices of Charles N. Rock today to discuss what premises liability attorney Charles Rock and our team can do to help you seek justice and money damages for your child, contact us today.