Lead Abatement Practices in Construction

Lead Abatement Recommended Practices- Work Safe and Protect Your Employees

Lead based paint
Lead-based paint. Photo Editor B Flickr

Lead Abatement Activities

Lead abatement activities are ruled and closely monitored by the EPA. A certified firm must notify EPA at least five business days prior to starting lead abatement activities. In some instances, if the work to be done is part of an emergency abatement due to the discovery of high blood lead levels in occupants, notification should be done no later than the day work begins.

What is the Process for Proper Lead Abatement Notification?

Prior to beginning work a lead abatement service firm should notify EPA of the work being planned. The notification notice should include:

  • Type of Notification -- either original or updated

  • Expected start date of lead abatement activities

  • Expected completion date of lead abatement activities

  • Name, address, contact numbers and certification of the firm performing abatement

  • Property name or project description

  • Type of structure were lead abatement will be carried out

  • Location of the project including units being worked on and their respective id number

  • Copy or documentation showing lead abatement emergency order (if applicable)

  • Name and EPA certification number of the project supervisor

  • Total square feet to be abated

  • Description of the lead abatement activities that will be performed

  • Signature of the representative of the certified firm

Applicability of Lead Abatement Requirements 

Lead abatement requirements apply only in states and Indian jurisdictions without any authorized lead abatement program.

EPA has posted this information on their website which may be accessed by visiting the Lead Professionals page, or contacting the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) at 1-800-424-LEAD.

How Should Building Components Need to Be Abated?

When you are working on a building or any other commercial/residential project the following ideas can be followed:

  • Building Components-Spray a light drizzle over the area that will be removed. Remove the piece carefully and vacuum if necessary.  Wrap the component in 6-mil plastic sheeting and seal with duct tape.
  • Windows- After carefully removing the affected area, make sure there is not friction that can generate additional dust form other components that were not removed and that could have lead-based paint. Preferably remove all window components.
  • Doors and Jambs - After removing the lead-based paint affected material, be sure to replace the jamb if possible. In some instances this cannot be feasible so be sure to remove the stop and replace it with new material after stripping the old jamb.
  • Kitchen Cabinets- Remove the contaminated portion but be sure on not to remove additional lead-based paint in the walls.
  • Metal Components- Have them removed from site and clean them off-site.
  • Siding- Since this is exterior related work, then the area needs to be protected with plastic to avoid lead-based paint particles from getting loose.

It is extremely important to follow federal regulations and provide the proper PPE to workers dedicated to this work.

Lead Abatement Safety

Lead abatement practices should be carried out by certified personnel with protective equipment.

Workers must use proper personal protective equipment per theand state regulations. Full body covering (suits) with hood and shoe covering attached should be used to prevent lead dust contamination. Disposable coveralls that are used one time provide effective protection. Personal protective equipment that should be used includes at a minimum:

  • Disposable coveralls

  • Respirator

  • Goggles

  • Shoe covers

  • Gloves

Lead Abatement Methods

The options for lead abatement methods include:

  1. Enclosure: This can be the easiest of all methods. The lead paint is covered with a wall covering. This is typically done for large surfaces such as walls.

  2. Replacement: This method involves completely removing the door, window or molding that is covered in lead paint and replacing it with a new one.

  3. Paint Removal: This method involves completely removing lead paint. This will create lead dust and should be performed by a certified professional.

  1. Encapsulation: This method not only covers but seals the affected area with a specific coating. This is less expensive but cannot be used on all surfaces.

This record formcan be used widely when performing lead abatement jobs.

Be Sure to avoid the following as they are or can be prohibited in most jurisdictions:

  • Scraping dry paint

  • Sanding the painted surface without HEPA local vacuum exhaust tool

  • Using a heat gun or burning the surface with a torch (Open flame burning)

  • Sandblasting the surface

  • Chemically removing the paint

  •  Uncontained hydroblasting or high-pressure wash.