LEAD Dust In Construction
Lead poisoning is a serious heath problem and is more common today than most people know. An April 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine included an article concluding lead levels even below the 10 micrograms can be harmful, especially in children. The researchers wrote, “Our findings suggest that considerably more U.S. children are adversely affected by environmental lead than previously estimated.”
Lead has been used in paint for many years. Besides residential homes lead has been used on bridges, water tanks and steel structures.
Banned from residential use in the 1970’s most homes built before that time still have lead paint in them.
How Lead Affects the Body:
Contamination from lead usually comes from dust, fumes or contaminated water. Lead can enter the body by handling contaminated objects such as tools, construction material and also by swallowing the lead dust.
Young children are extremely susceptible to lead poisoning.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms:
Most symptoms are not noticeable at first or are thought to be something else, some syptoms of lead poisoning are:
- Metallic taste
- Uneasy stomach
- Poor appetite
- Reproductive problems
Overtime Lead Poisoning Can Cause:
- Brain damage
- Blood, nerve, kidney and reproductive damage
- Memory loss
- Emotional problems
- Kidney failure
Steps To Protect You From Lead Dust:
Lead dust contaminates everything in its area. This means work clothes, surfaces, rugs, etc. Lead dust can also travel with you on your clothes and transfer onto car seats or at home.
Here are a few safety tips to prevent lead poisoning:
- Follow EPA guidelines and RRP rules when working with lead materials
- Use a HEPA ventilation systems and vacuums
- Use a respirator appropriate for lead dust. [replace and clean filters as recommended]
- Keeps the work area clean with a HEPA vacuum and wet cleaning methods.Avoid drinking, eating and smoking in work areas.
- Always wash hands and face before eating, drinking and smoking.
- After work shower, wash hair; change into clean clothes, including shoes.
NOTE – The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group Working to eliminate childhood and foetal lead poisoning by the year 2012 and to protect the environment from lead has a really great Child lead poising questionnaire:
Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire
Photo credit: the LEAD Group