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Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Posted by theresse (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 28, 11 at 2:35

Hi all -

I'm kinda freaking out here cause today lead-paint removal guys were here removing paint and appeared to do it properly (plastic up and no sanding - just scraping) but now the house smells like dust - particularly in my son's bedroom and my bedroom. I'm worried about the kids!

I called the local lead line today to ask if it's okay that they're not scraping with water and the guy on the phone said that if it's contained behind a plastic tent thingie that it's fine. But now I'm questioning him. I saw at times the guys coming out of the plastic but I was so busy and distracted that I didn't pay attention to how they went about it (where were they going? Are they changing their shoes? If you have to escape the plastic even to get the vacuum, then aren't you letting lead dust into the room when you come out of the plastic to do so? What about if the vacuum looks covered in dust?!).

I'm hoping I'm over-reacting but I can definitely smell it in these bedrooms. I just now moved my son to finish sleeping in the attic but he's already been in there 2 or 3 hours. I got home late and my husband has a cold and couldn't smell.

What's really frustrating is that the guy I interviewed for the job has barely been here and all these other guys are doing all the work (they look young and inexperienced and can barely understand me when I talk to them). They look like they're doing it correctly in terms of taping up and such but I don't know. Am I over-reacting to the dusty smell? My worst thought is that the kids might have been exposed to less lead if I'd never had the lead paint removed! Did I put them even more at risk? :( Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

You need a cleaning verification done by an EPA certified renovator,
Call 1-800-424-5323 if you have questions.

If they are dry scraping, they are creating dust, just the same ( almost) as sanding. If they are tramping in and out of the work area an not following proper cleaning procedures, well then, they are not doing the job properly and are liable. Document everything with pics.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Well, if it makes you feel any better, your actual risk is quite low. Lead does not migrate through skin well at all, so you basically have to eat it to take in any significant quantities. Wipe everything down with a damp cloth and mop the floors. That will take care of the majority of the dust that escaped. You'll probably have to be vigilant about it for the next couple weeks.

As to these particular contractors, they sound lie duds. They obviously aren't supposed to be tracking dust through the house.

If you are really concerned, give your kids a vitamin with iron and make them eat lots of red meat and beans for a couple weeks. That significantly reduces lead absorption. You can also have them tested, but I think that would be overkill.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Thanks so much Christopher and Bill.

He responded this morning to my email inquiry last night and said (phone call) that what I'm most likely smelling is the smell of the freshly-scraped wood that had been dampened by the TSP liquid - the combination of which creates a specific smell that can be associated with dust but he says is really just an old house's old wood being opened up and gotten wet, if that makes sense. He may be wrong of course, but something about what he said does make sense. However he showed up today to check on things, which appeared to be in order. He also told me on the phone that his guys have been trained and do this all day long for a living. I feel better now (plus don't smell it as all is now primed with paint) but who knows. Thank you for being there for me and giving me your honest feedback (which I also passed on to my husband as well)!


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Thanks so much Christopher and Bill.

He responded this morning to my email inquiry last night and said (phone call) that what I'm most likely smelling is the smell of the freshly-scraped wood that had been dampened by the TSP liquid - the combination of which creates a specific smell that can be associated with dust but he says is really just an old house's old wood being opened up and gotten wet, if that makes sense. He may be wrong of course, but something about what he said does make sense. However he showed up today to check on things, which appeared to be in order. He also told me on the phone that his guys have been trained and do this all day long for a living. I feel better now (plus don't smell it as all is now primed with paint) but who knows. Thank you for being there for me and giving me your honest feedback (which I also passed on to my husband as well)!


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Glad to help


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

I am really dismayed by Bill's response that your actual risk is quite low. He is correct when he says that lead does not migrate through skin BUT it can be inhaled, which is even more dangerous to kids than eating lead paint chips. The Centers for Disease Control says that a speck of lead dust, as small as a grain of sand, is enough to poison a child. My advice is to have your home tested for lead dust ASAP by a reputable environmental testing company, and your children tested for lead poisoning by their pediatrician. And please check out a really informative Web site, Bust Lead Dust, which is filled with valuable information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bust Lead Dust


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

I'll never understand the chicken-little mentality of some people.

If a minor amount of dust manages to escape past a plastic barrier - it is not the end of the world. If you notice from your website link, their solution for protecting your kids for lead dust is to use a wet cloth to wipe surfaces down regularly. Lead is heavy. It doesn't stay airborne long. If you wipe up the dust and don't generate more, you eliminate the problem very quickly.

BTW - the chances of your children being killed in a car crash on the way to the doctor is WAY greater than any danger they face in the house as long as you just wipe it up.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

It's amazing how mankind survived before the gov't(EPA) told us what we must do for our own safety because otherwise, we ignorant savages would be licking & chewing on the woodwork for the fun of it!


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

We have an old lead infested house (1825) that we're constantly working on. I had my kids tested every 6 months when they were young. We then moved to CA (Rocklin) for 2 years to a new house in a new neighborhood with new schools, new preschool, new fitness club, new stores, etc. Nothing was older than 2 years. My daughter's lead level doubled! We moved back to Boston to our lead infested house and her levels dropped in half. The doctors thought the rise in lead levels was all environmental - air or water. go figure


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

I agree totally with Antiquesilver--people need to realize that a lot of what the government does is to create revenue and jobs for more bureaucrats--not necessarily for something to actually serve the public.

Barring disease and disaster, our ancestors survived pretty well--and I'd wager they didn't go around eating paint off the woodwork--raising children was a more hands-on concept back then, and examples were set rather than being raised by a glowing picture box.

My god--I rode a bike without a helmet (even wrecked it going down a hill with no more than a couple scratches), drank not only from the garden hose, but an old hand pump across the street; I ate fruit right off the tree, and actually ate snow and rain as it fell! I climbed trees, got hit with a soft ball hit by my dad--one of the few times he didn't hit it across the street or break the bat; my worst injury was coming around the corner of the house and colliding with my dog as she was doing the same--broke two front teeth on the concrete garage entrance.

By all means check out safety information, but use your common sense as well--don't automatically scream for an abatement crew when it isn't necessary to do more than a good follow-up cleaning.

Every week something else is 'discovered' that will kill you--if taken in the massive quantities which they give to the test animals to show the toxicity. Worry more about the things which are put INTO your daily food and drink than about a very occasional whiff of dust. And with the quality of our air and water these days, and the food additives, it has been shown that life expectancy has actually decreased a bit in the past decade or so.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

it's good to know about all this stuff.

After a while, one acquires skill in risk assessment and in lowering its presence in one's head.

Some people cannot handle knowledge of risk. Once they learn something it becomes a big thing in their head. Ignorance is a multi stage thing.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Bill (and the others) are right.

Good gosh, one speck of lead dust is not going to do one speck of harm. If that were the case, we'd all be dead.

Why does *anyone* buy an old house if they're so terrified of all these noxious poisons? What's the point?

The truth is, everything in life has risks. If you want to live a risk-free life, stay away from your car! That's a real death trap.

Rose


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

The act that created the EPA dos not require ANY cost benefit analysis, so they have refused to perform any.

They have turned the lack of a requirement into a prohibition pf coast benefit analysis.

This results in a hysterical response to risks (and them ridiculous 'fixes' and attendant costs) for problems that are NOT a significant hazard.

The incidence of lead poisoning has fallen exactly with the removal of lead from gasoline.

they provided 'guidance' to remove asbestos from schools, causing bullion of dollars in expenses when encapsulation was a better option.
After the money was spent they finally admitted that encapsulation would have been just as effective at far lower cost.

It should be noted also that the ceiling of Dulles International Airport is COVERED with asbestos.
To remove it under EPA 'guidance' would have closed the airport for years. At least this time enough money was at stake to stand up to the EPA and simply encapsulate the material.

They failed to consult their OWN corrosion folks as they issued tighter and tighter standards for drinking water.

They finally made them tight enough to case problems with pipes in the water system.
Old lead pipes that had an isolating coating ended up with the coating removed and lead back in the water.
Copper pipes have the same problem. The coating that formed was stripped from the copper.

The 'fix' to the 'cleaner water' is to add phosphates to allow the corrosion inhibiting coatings to form again.

Now we get to pay to take out the minor contaminates that helped with corrosion control and add them back in.


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reRE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Zinc OrthoPhosphate is a popular addition to limit corrosion.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

Here is some non-light reading (pdf, may appear in browser or as download):

Here is a link that might be useful: De-Leading Rhode Island (Master's Thesis)


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

"Now we get to pay to take out the minor contaminates that helped with corrosion control and add them back in.

and so it goes, our government hard at work protecting the citizens


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

"Here is some non-light reading (pdf, may appear in browser or as download):"

Typical 'let's create a problem' paper.

They start off by assuming every house with lead paint is a possible problem.

how did anyone ever even survive before lead paint was restricted?

Instead of an "Estimated to affect nearly 2.2% of children ages 1-5 years in the United States" the rate should have been 100%, but it clearly was not.

For 2.2% of children every contractor working any job with ANY lead paint present is now required to take classes to reduce the CHANCE of exposure?

Note that there appears to be no mechanism to determine how much reduction will be created by the new rules.

Why should the EPA care?

It is not their money.


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

This article makes a crucial distinction not made in much of the literature on this subject, isotopic analysis to determine the likely source of the lead. (The crucial social distinction is between reading to be surprised and reading to have one's notions confirmed, according to Paul Fussell):

Here is a link that might be useful: Lead Paint


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RE: Interior lead paint removed but smell of dust (!)

"The crucial social distinction is between reading to be surprised and reading to have one's notions confirmed, according to Paul Fussell"

Or just reading to become informed.


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