Some good Questions from Ask the Pro

By on April 18, 2011 — Leave a comment


Thank you for your e-mail dated 17 April 2011. You asked a few very good questions. I will answer those questions for you to the best of my ability.

Question #1: How good is an interim control over the long run?
Answer: The interim control is only as good as the maintenance that is performed on it. I.E. – if you paint the steps and clean really well there is no immediate hazard from lead based paint. As long as the paint is kept in good condition it will not present a hazard other than as a “chewable surface”. A “chewable surface” is any surface that a child can gets their mouth on and chew. The problem you will have is that you are planning to go to California. As a landlord, you will need to think about the condition the house may fall into with a tenant. In that situation, it may be best to remove the hazard completely. The rule of thumb however is if it is covered, the paint is in good condition, and it is clean, there is very little to worry about. (Another idea might be to cover the steps with sheet vinyl.)

Question #2: Can lead paint seep through other paint?
Answer: This is VERY unlikely to happen. Lead is a very heavy and very dense material. It does not “seep” through the top coat of paint. More likely what has happened is that the person who did the original painting was not following lead safe renovation procedures and re-contaminated the area after it was painted. Always start your work high and at the farthest point from the exit. Work from high to low and back your way out of the space. This goes for the work and the post renovation cleaning procedures as well.
Question #3: With paint stripper, are all the precautions necessary?
Answer: The particular level of PPE (personal protective equipment) and containment used will vary from job to job. It is important to remember that what you are trying to avoid is cross contamination. With chemical strippers, you will need to make sure you have proper ventilation. The strippers are very toxic and can be very hazardous to your health if proper safety precautions are not followed. All lead safe renovations require that you work with the medium being wet some how. When sanding or scraping, you would mist the area with water to wet the area before sanding or scraping starts. Dry sanding or scraping is considered a prohibited practice. Ensure that all the material you remove is cleaned up completely and disposed of properly and it will not matter which method you choose to use. Again remember – make sure you have proper ventilation before using any type of chemical paint remover.
Question #4: (paraphrased). What level of containment is required?
Answer: Again the level of containment will change from project to project but the minimum required is plastic on the floor a minimum of 6 feet in all directions of the work site. The goal of containment is that dust from your work area does not migrate past the containment area you have established. That is the rule. So if you are using a chemical stripper, it may be more important to have proper ventilation than to have vertical containment. You are only required to ensure that the dust created from your renovation is not migrating past the area of containment.
As a landlord, it may be beneficial for you to take the 8 hour Lead Safe Renovator Course. It is a one day course and it is required by the IDPH (Iowa Department of Public Health) to become certified in lead safe renovations. In Iowa, anyone who does any type of renovations for compensation is required to be certified in lead safe renovations. This law is fairly new and has not been defined by the courts just yet, but a lot of landlords who do their own renovations have taken the class just to be on the safe side. The course covers all aspects of lead safe renovations- Identifying hazards, containment, proper PPE, clean up procedures and cleaning verification procedures. It also discusses the law and your specific responsibilities under the law. It may be a very good class for you. I offer the course about once a month here in my office. Right now the next class is May 7Th. The cost is $249 with lunch provided for all students. I provide all the handouts, your text book, and all supplies needed for the hands on training portion of the program. I need to know by the 25Th if you would like to attend so I can make my reports to the IDPH.
Thank you for your very good questions.


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