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

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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!"

Described here: certification & Training for Lead Paint Abatement, Cleanup, or Removal Workers & Companies.

We also discuss 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.

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:

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.

Reader Comment on Lead paint removal procedures

(Feb 26, 2012) Peter Desmond, The Meridian Grou said:
You are correct that power washing will merely transfer the dust to wherever the water runs. If it runs down into a drain that goes to a sewer, great. If it goes to your lawn, no.

A HEPA filter on a "shop vac" is NOT a HEPA vac. 1. Shop vacs leak; the stuff inside does not necessarily stay inside. 2. The exhaust on shop vacs is not diffused. They can and do end up blowing debris around which may end up settling on an area that has already been "cleaned."

If you want to clean the area, start with a true HEPA vac and vacuum everything. Workers should be wearing respirators fitted with a HEPA filter (stay away from the single-use HEPA filters as they do not necessarily fit your face), coveralls and nitrile or dish washing gloves.

Wash everything down inside the garage starting at the top and working your way down. (Lead is heavy so it tends to settle to horizontal surfaces rather than clinging to vertical surfaces.)

Use two buckets of water. Bucket one is your wash bucket. In bucket one use very hot water and add tri-sodium phosphate. Bucket two is your rinse bucket. Using big sponges (such as for tile grout work), soak your clean sponge in bucket one. Wash a small area turning the sponge to pick up the dirt.

Rinse your now dirty sponge in bucket TWO until clean. Soak your cleaned sponge in bucket one and wash the next area.

Change the bucket two water when it gets dirty by pouring it down the toilet and flushing. Most of the nasties will be in the bucket two water.

The reason you use two buckets is to keep the wash water in bucket one clean for as long as possible.

You will need to rinse everything once you finish washing the equipment,walls, windows and doors. TSP leaves a film that should be rinsed off. The "beauty" of TSP is that it is "sticky" to materials like dirt and lead.

The one downside to this is that the cleaned areas will be appear dramtically cleaner than adjoining uncleaned areas as the TSP does not differentiate between lead, dirt, and grime. It just cleans.


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Or see PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION - in depth information on paint failure cause, cure, prevention at this website.

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