Lead-based Paint Awareness

What is lead-based paint?

HUD = 0.5% or 5000 ppm or greater of total paint

Lead has been used because it is an excellent corrosion inhibitor and pigment. Buildings constructed or painted before the early 1980s may contain lead compounds in the paint.

Health Hazard Information: Lead may be absorbed into the body by ingestion (eating) and inhalation (breathing). Children have suffered from lead poisoning by eating lead-based paint flakes, making it essential to encapsulate or remove damaged lead-based paint in housing with small children. Lead is a "cumulative" toxin, making acceptable personal hygiene practices very important since ingestion is the primary entry route. Hands must be washed before eating or smoking. Chronic adverse health effects are:

  • Decreased hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying material in the blood), anorexia, and anemia.
  • Fatigue, dullness, memory loss, and possible seizures
  • Possible kidney damage with progression to kidney dialysis
  • Decreased sex drive and potential risk of congenital disabilities.

Training: Construction and maintenance workers must be provided with lead awareness training before assignment to work in an area with lead-based paint. If personal monitoring discloses potential exposure in excess of the OSHA action level of 30 ug/m3, then extensive training must be provided in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.62(l)(1)(ii).

Housekeeping: Floors and other surfaces where lead-based paint debris may accumulate should be cleaned by vacuuming or other methods that minimize the likelihood of the paint dust or debris becoming airborne.

Hand Washing Facilities: Such facilities should be in proximity to the worksite and should be so equipped to enable employees to remove contamination from their hands and faces before eating or smoking. This practice will minimize the risk of exposure to lead in paint debris or dust by ingestion.

REMEMBER: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Always remember to wash your hands before smoking or eating. You may ask for and use a dust mask in potentially dusty situations, where free silica may also be present. Protective equipment will help protect your health and assure your safety.