Lead safety

We would like to first define lead poisoning. As defined in Wikipedia lead poisoning is:

 Lead poisoning (also known as Plumbism, Colica Pictorum, Saturnism, Devon colic, or painter's colic) is a type of metal poisoning and a medical condition in humans and other vertebrates caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.

It has been proven that those at the greatest risk are children under the age of 6 and pregnant women.  Swartwout Solutions feels that we should take every precaution possible to prevent anyone from getting lead poisoning.  Many in the field have a mixed feelings about the regulations that include: it adds a ridiculous amount of  cost and labor to a project,  I have never heard of anyone dyeing from lead poisoning, and so on.  It does pose a risk and we need to work towards preventing anyone from suffering from side effect of high blood lead levels.  The few extra steps to prevent lead poisoning are a lot better then finding out after it is too late.

Rules and Regulations 

In 2008, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency passed the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. Shortly, there after Wisconsin followed suit and incorporated this federal law into Wis. Administrative Code DHS 163.  

In short, these rules and regulations mean that any contractor disturbing the paint finish (over 6 sq ft interior, over 20 sq ft exterior) in any home in Wisconsin that was build before 1978 need to :

  • Work for a lead safe company
  • Inform the occupants of the risks of lead poisoning at least 7 days before any work is started 
    (Renovate right)  
  • Post Warning signs at every entrance to work area
  • Completely cover with plastic anything that cannot be removed form the area
  • Cover vents with plastic
  • Cover floor or ground with plastic
  • Preform the work with tools and methods as described in DHS 163
  • Clean the area with mop and complete vacuum with a HEPA vacuum
  • Remove all waste and dispose of off site using the methods as described in DHS 163
  • Visual inspection of the entire work area
  • Verification of cleaning to verification card
  • Provide owner with a written post renovation report out within 30 days of completion 

    (summation for rules in detail see Wis. Administrative Code DHS 163)

We feel that these rules should be the standard for any job.  All of these rules make sense in not making a mess of your home and ensuring that there is no mess when we leave.

For more information:

Prevent Lead PDF

Lead Based Paint Guide