What is lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring chemical element. It is a dense metal that is soft and malleable and has a low melting point. Lead is a reminder that not everything that is natural is healthy because it is poisonous to people. It is used in wires, batteries, pipes and ammunition, but was used in many other things until just about fifty years ago. There are certain laws, regulations and protocols involving lead and the removal or abatement of lead in Virginia. It is important to hire a licensed lead abatement company to ensure the processes are done correctly and legally. There must be a written contract stating that there is a lead removal project being completed at a home or building prior to the work being started.
Where can lead be found in your home?
While lead is not used the same way it once was, it can still be present in older homes that utilized lead in the form of paint. Lead can be found in dust on windows and doors, contaminated soil, and work clothes. Lead used to be added to paint to increase its durability. Beginning in the late 1970s, lead was being phased out from commercial use and markets and was eventually banned. Homes built prior to 1978 might have traces of lead and the easiest way to know if you have lead paint in your home is to get it tested. Professionals who deal with lead can conduct a test to determine whether or not there is lead in your home. There are also at-home lead tests that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Why is lead harmful?
It doesn’t matter if you breathe in lead particles, swallow them or they are absorbed by your bloodstream, lead is very dangerous. Lead is absorbed and then stored in the blood, bones and other tissues. It is released over a period of time at various points in your life, one being during pregnancy, which is why exposure to lead when pregnant is especially dangerous to both the mother and child. Lead exposure is more dangerous for children because they absorb four to five times more lead than adults. Children are more likely than adults to eat lead in soil or from paint. In addition to children, lead is incredibly dangerous to pets. People who have been exposed to lead can develop lead poisoning. The symptoms of lead poisoning are abdominal pain, headaches, irritability, weakness and can even lead to further damage to the kidneys and brain and cause anemia. If you have signs or symptoms of lead poisoning, it is important to receive proper and immediate medical attention.
What is being used instead of lead now?
While lead is still used in several things such as machinery and electronics, some alternatives are being used in place of lead for safety reasons. For example, lead pipes that carry water are no longer being used, because we know the harmful effects of drinking from something made from lead. Lead is no longer being used as a paint additive anymore, instead titanium dioxide is being used, which is safe enough to be consumed in food coloring.
Lead removal and abatement in Fairfax
At Summit, we offer lead paint removal, replacement of lead-based paint with non-lead based paint, encapsulation of lead-based paint, and lead dust clean-up. Lead paint is removed from homes with various different techniques that should only be completed by a professional. Our processes are thorough and your home will be lead-free upon completion of our lead abatement program or lead paint removal processes. Once your home is free of lead, it will be safer and healthier for all of the occupants. Again, it is important to get your home inspected for lead if it was built prior to 1978, when the use of lead-based products was banned.
What goes into the lead removal process
The first step of the removal process is to contact a company that works in removing lead from properties. At Summit, we can do lead removal for commercial and residential properties. We will offer you a free inspection, where we will take a look at your property, determine where the lead is and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for what is best for your home and the people and pets who live there. The different options are removal or encapsulation. Some believe the lead encapsulation process is safer because it doesn’t stir up lead dust and residue like the removal process can. Encapsulation is also a cheaper option too because it requires fewer steps. The lead encapsulation is when special encapsulation paint is applied over the existing lead paint, to seal it and make sure it doesn’t chip off. Normal water or oil-based paints can’t be used instead of an encapsulation paint, because it will not work.
Who to call for lead paint removal in Northern Virginia
With lead removal, you must be a licensed lead removal expert. It can be a complicated and long process and needs to be done by a professional to ensure it is done effectively and efficiently. At Summit, our lead removal technicians are skilled, knowledgeable, professional, and most importantly, licensed in lead removal. With lead paint removal, the process is different from the encapsulation process. The lead paint is removed either manually with scraping and dry brushing or with chemicals that thin and strip the paint from the walls. In addition to being less safe than encapsulation, this process can be more invasive and harmful for the walls. There can be damage caused and need for drywall repair after the paint is removed. When the paint is removed, the dust and debris from the lead paint is removed and the area is cleaned of any residual traces of lead. Next, the walls can be repainted with non-lead based paint. It is not necessary to use an encapsulation paint at this point because the lead paint has been removed.
For more information about our lead removal and encapsulation processes in Northern Virginia, contact us today to schedule a free estimate. We are the company for your whole home needs, whether it is basement waterproofing, a roof repair or replacement, insulation, pest control or animal removal. Contact us today and we will do our best to assist you with whatever you may need help with.