Photograph of a newly painted building exterior of an older home with small children present. Was lead paint left scattered on the ground in the play area?. Lead Paint Removal SNAFU & Warnings

  • LEAD PAINT REMOVAL TROUBLES - CONTENTS: Certification & Training for Lead Paint Abatement, Cleanup, or Removal Workers & Companies
    • Warnings about un-trained asbestos cleanup workers; Lack of training or job supervision result in improper asbestos, lead, mold and similar contamination removal efforts; Basic Safety advice for lead paint removal on buildings; Comparison of the relative safety of different lead paint removal methods
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about mistakes during lead paint removal, stripping, etc.

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Lead paint removal / abatement warning and case report: this article warns about un-supervised or un-trained environmental cleanup companies or work crews handling asbestos, lead, mold, and similar indoor contaminants, including identification of amateur or improper asbestos "abatement" projects that failed to properly remove materials or that left abandoned asbestos materials in place.

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Lead Paint Cleanup Troubles - "... the lead paint dust was everywhere!"

Readers should see PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION - in depth information on paint failure cause, cure, prevention at this website, Also see LEAD PAINT REMOVAL ALTERNATIVES and see LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE.

Question: Who Should I Use for Cleaning Up Lead Paint Dust Left by My Contractor?

You’re going to love this one. (maybe not). We were getting the exterior of our house painted. Since we have young kids (8 and 10), I thought I was careful to choose a painter only after discussing with the painter to discuss how they dealt with lead.

Our house painters seemed to do a good job (removing paint under a tarp to contain the lead, etc) until I went into our garage and noticed a white dust coating over everything and also found their mask, lights, tarp, etc next to my kids bikes! I tested contents throughout the garage and it’s a hot zone. The lead paint dust was everywhere and we had lots of items stored all over the garage.

The good part is the vendor is taking ownership. He would like to remove everything from the garage, wipe the articles down and box them, and then power wash the garage. (even the overhead electric door opener probably has dust on it.) I’m wondering whether it’s better to vacuum everything first (contents and entire garage, then wash down)and with a $500 HEPA lead specific vac vs just using a Shop Vac with HEPA filter. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Maybe there’s a business for inspectors who will check the premises for lead during and after a paint job. Maybe I need to hire someone watching the painters next time? We have drains in the garage and driveway. Theoretically, we could filter the water where it drains. Easy to say. I think the ultimate challenge will be to determine after the clean up whether it's really clean. How do I know whoever will wipe every bottle, toy,even fire wood? It's such a mess. Thanks - GK October 2010

Reply: A qualified professional company with expert supervision should be used for any environmental cleanup

Our OPINION about this lead dust containment mistake is below:

  • It sounds like a mistake to power wash the lead-paint-dusted garage interior:
    • By power-washing the garage interior and simply allowing the wash-out to flow outdoors, you'll just be moving the contamination to the outdoor yard soil where your children play, to the street and as the wash dries, to air, and to neighbors, or the storm drain system
    • Power-washing the garage interior, assuming some surfaces are insulated or covered with drywall, risks driving water into building cavities, creating a mold problem
    • That approach certainly won't properly clean all of the items that are stored in the garage and are or may be contaminated with high levels of lead paint dust and debris.
  • It sounds questionable to have a lead dust contamination cleanup done by a contractor or their crew who, from having created the problem in the first place, appear not properly trained.
  • It sounds reasonable to HEPA vac and wipe all surfaces - that's part of what a lead abatement co would do, but they'd also probably have already set up a barrier between the garage and rest of the home.

Therefore you should be using a professional, trained, supervised lead paint or contaminated dust environmental cleanup company to handle this cleanup job. It's too bad, and surely an accident, but the lack of training or attention by the painter appears to have unavoidably increased the cost of this renovation job.


Watch out for environmental testing and cleanup that are not performed by qualified experts. Details & examples of what can go wrong are at ASBESTOS REMOVAL, Amateur, Incomplete and ASBESTOS REMOVAL CERTIFICATIONS.

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