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Lead aware practices

Lead aware practices need to be taken if items using lead paint are restored, renovated or used by small children.

Before you start renovating, read the national six-step guide to painting your home.

repainting or renovating? be lead paint aware
Important lead aware practices include:

Plan ahead

  • Testing it is important to find out if lead-based paint is present in your home.
  • Consider using a professional painter who is trained in lead-paint management and removal, particularly for large areas.
  • Consider covering lead-based paint with lead‑free paint instead of removing it, but only if it is in good condition (for example, not flaking or chalking). This is only a temporary solution as lead-based paint can be exposed if the covering paint is chipped.
  • Relocate children and pregnant women out of the house for the duration of the renovation and clean-up. Do not carry out renovations that may expose you to lead-based paint or other lead fixtures if you are pregnant.

Prepare

  • Consider using a professional painter who is trained.
  • Seal off the work area to stop contamination moving to other areas of the house.
  • Remove all furnishings, curtains, rugs and other household items. Carpets and larger furniture items should be covered with plastic.
  • Cover the floor or ground with plastic sheeting to catch and contain debris.

Protect yourself and others

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment and wash clothing separately from other items after use.
  • Do not use renovation methods that create dust or fumes such as grinding, blasting, using torches and heat-guns, scraping and dry sanding. Wet scraping, wet sanding and chemical stripping help reduce the amount of airborne dust.
  • Prevent ingestion of paint particles by not eating, drinking or smoking in the work area.
  • Keep pets out of the renovation area for their own safety and to prevent transfer of dust and debris throughout the house
  • Prevent soil and garden contamination when working on the outside of your home or disposing of renovation waste.
  • Inform neighbours of your activities so they can take appropriate action.

Clean up

  • Clean using a HEPA filter equipped vacuum and wet mopping.
  • Dispose of contaminated waste material safely. Prevent contamination of your garden and drains. Contact your local council for local requirements for waste disposal.
  • Test the work area after clean-up to make sure it has been done correctly.

Lead safe renovation practices

Further information

For further information on lead aware practices, see:

Lead paint testing

Paint can be tested using one of the following methods:

Laboratory testing

Laboratory testing is the most reliable method of testing but it can be expensive. Samples need to be scraped off and each layer of paint may need to be tested.

You can collect and send off your own samples by following the laboratory’s instructions. Use a laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities to test for lead.

Colour-change test kits

Colour-change test kits are available from most hardware, paint or safety equipment supply stores. These kits are relatively cheap and quick to use but are limited in their accuracy. It is important to test all layers of paint, which may require a cut be made through all layers of paint.

Portable x-ray fluorescence device

Portable x-ray fluorescence device does not damage the paint surface and gives an instant indication of the presence and level of lead. This service is not readily available to the public.

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