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Lead Paint Removal

Children should be screened for lead poisoning.

In communities where the houses are old and deteriorating, take advantage of available screening programs offered by local health departments and have children checked regularly to see if they are suffering from lead poisoning. Because the early symptoms of lead poisoning are easy to confuse with other illnesses, it is difficult to diagnose lead poisoning without medical testing. Early symptoms may include persistent tiredness, irritability, and loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, reduced attention span, insomnia, and constipation.

Failure to treat children in the early stages can cause long-term or permanent health damage.

The current blood lead level which defines lead poisoning is 10 micrograms of lead per decilitre of blood. However, since poisoning may occur at lower levels than previously thought; various federal agencies are considering whether this level should be lowered further so that lead poisoning prevention programs will have the latest information on testing children for lead poisoning.

Consumers can be exposed to lead from paint.

Eating paint chips is one way young children are exposed to lead. It is not the most common way that consumers, in general, are exposed to lead.

Ingesting and inhaling lead dust that is created as lead-based paint "chalks," chips, or peels from deteriorated surfaces can expose consumers to lead. Walking on small paint chips found on the floor, or opening and closing a painted frame window, can also create lead dust. Other sources of lead include deposits that may be present in homes after years of use of leaded gasoline and from industrial sources like smelting. Consumers can also generate lead dust by sanding lead-based paint or by scraping or heating lead-based paint.

Lead dust can settle on floors, walls, and furniture. Under these conditions, children can ingest lead dust from hand-to-mouth con- tact or in food.

Settled lead dust can re-enter the air through cleaning, such as sweeping or vacuuming, or by movement of people throughout the house.

Older homes may contain lead based paint.

Lead was used as a pigment and drying agent in "alkyd" oil based paint. "Latex" water based paints generally have not contained lead. About two-thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily-leaded paint.

Some homes built after 1960 also contain heavily-leaded paint. It may be on any interior or exterior surface, particularly on woodwork, doors, and windows.

Pacific Building Services can provide you with a report if you have lead base paint work around your home or any other old buildings.
Exposure to lead-based paint.

If you have lead-based paint, you should take steps to reduce your exposure to lead. Pacific building Services can remove or encapsulate all the lead based paint at your premises.

Have the painted item replaced.

You can replace a door or other easily removed item if you can do it without creating lead dust. Items that are difficult to remove should be replaced by professionals who will control and contain lead dust.

You can spray the surface with a sealant or cover it with gypsum wallboard. However, painting over lead-based paint with non-lead paint is not a long-term solution. Even though the lead-based paint may be covered by non-lead paint, the lead-based paint may continue to loosen from the surface below and create lead dust. The new paint may also partially mix with the lead-based paint, and lead dust will be released when the new paint begins to deteriorate.

Have the lead-based paint removed.

Pacific Building Services has trained professionals in removing lead-based paint do this work. Each of the paint-removal methods (sandpaper, scrapers, chemicals, sandblasters, and torches or heat guns) can produce lead fumes or dust.

Fumes or dust can become airborne and be inhaled or ingested. Wet methods help reduce the amount of lead dust.

Removing mouldings, trim, window sills, and other painted surfaces for professional paint stripping outside the home may also create dust. Be sure the Pacific Building Services contain the lead dust.

We wet-wipe all surfaces to remove any dust or paint chips. We wet-clean the area before re-entry.

You can remove a small amount of lead-based paint if you can avoid creating any dust. We make sure the surface is less than about one square foot (such as a window sill).

Any job larger than about one square foot should be done by professionals. Make sure you can use a wet method (such as a liquid paint stripper).

Safety Standards

Pacific Building Services Employees and sub-contractors follow strict safety standards in accordance with our Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Management Procedures. We use a range of Elevated Work platforms and access equipments.

Our Personnel are fully licensed for all the tasks we undertake. All our employees are site safety induced and have induction cards. Please Contact us if you'd like to request additional information, clarification, or and for an estimate Click Here regarding this service or any other services Pacific Building Services offers.


Just about everywhere, but the main sources are:
1) Old paint from buildings built prior to 1970.
There are at least 3.5 million homes in Australia with lead based paint and it is not possible to identify it by it's "look". Lead paint is often sweet tasting and therefore children will pick at it and eat it and animals will lick it Also, when this paint is sanded, scraped or is peeling it creates a dangerous lead dust that is easily inhaled or swallowed. This dust also enters soil where it is easily accessed by children or animals. LEAD does not BREAK DOWN. It remains toxic and unless dealt with safely it will not "go away."

2) Dust in the roof void (attic), wall cavity or under floor area is often contaminated with lead. So if a ceiling or wall is to come down, or a skylight or attic ladder is to be installed, care must be taken to prevent contamination of living spaces.


7) If you are a gardener some above ground crops such as tomatoes and beans are better grown in "leaded soils" than root vegetables e.g. potatoes and carrots. Also all produce, especially root vegetables, should be carefully washed or peeled before eating to minimise any risk. Vacuum cleaner dust should not be put in the compost bin as this dust can contain high levels of lead. 8) Pets often show symptoms of lead poisoning before people.

  • Have you renovated a pre 1970 home or do you live on a busy road?
  • Does your pre 1970 home have peeling or chalking paint?
  • Was the paint on your or your neighbour's pre 1970 property ever sand or water blasted or renovated using sanding or some other unsafe dust creating method?
  • Does a member of the household work with lead or use it in a hobby?
  • Do you live near a source of lead contamination (e.g lead smelter, market garden once sprayed with lead arsenate, municipal incinerator, car repairer where paint is stripped, battery breaking yard).

The Global Lead Advice & Support Service will give free telephone service, free written material and free community workshops and meetings to parents. We will provide advice and support about any lead related questions or concern that you may have. Advice such as: where to have samples of paint, dust or soil analysed, how to take simple steps with diet to reduce the absorption rate of lead, how to undertake a safe renovation or how to ensure your tradesperson uses safe methods.
If you feel that you or your child may have been exposed to lead the only reliable way of knowing is to have a blood lead

Lead aware housekeeping

The most common way for people, to take lead into our bodies, is by way of "leaded" dust. This is especially so for young children because as all parents know, preschool children often put everything in their mouths, which introduces leaded dust into their stomachs. This dust can come from many sources including deteriorating paint, leaded petrol exhaust, ceiling void dust leakage, tracked in soil or dust brought home on the clothes of a worker or lead hobbyist.

The following list is some of the symptoms and effects of lead poisoning has been compiled to raise awareness that more blood lead assessments must be done in time for further poisoning to be prevented.

However, remember that most people who are lead poisoned present with no symptoms at all.
    Nervous system
  • Encephalopathy [brain disease]
  • Acute encephalopathy
  • Alters function of developing brain
  • Alters electroencephalogram
  • Convulsions
  • Neurotransmitter release disrupted
  • Growth & development
  • Delayed neurodevelopment [e.g. in sitting up, walking, talking]
  • Stature and growth rate reduction
  • Impaired pituitary-thyroid endocrine system
  • Osteoporosis in later years
  • Weight loss
  • Behaviour
  • Aggression, violence, hostility, anti-social or delinquent behaviour
  • Attention problems; distractibility, restlessness
  • Externalising and internalising behaviours
  • Hyperactive behaviours, difficult to manage
  • Inappropriate / uncontrolled behaviours similar to ADD behaviours, increased frequency
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Increased school absenteeism
  • Movement and muscular
  • Visual-motor skills deficits [hand-eye coordination]
  • Fine motor dysfunction
  • Motor function deficits
  • Impaired muscular strength and endurance
  • Paralysis
  • Somatic complaints [aches and pains]
  • Renal (kidneys), blood and circulation
  • Renal disease – acute nephropathy
  • Queensland nephritis
  • Anaemia
  • Death
  • Foetal
  • Preimplantation loss
  • Miscarriage, still birth, neonatal death
  • Reduced gestational age, preterm birth
  • Reduced birth weight
  • Minor congenital / chromosomal anomalies
  • Reproductive abnormalities; disorders
  • Decreased placental functioning
  • Lead passed via placenta to foetus from mother
  • Adults
  • Altered testicular functioning
  • Hypospermia [low sperm count]
  • Asthenospermia [sperm weakness]
  • Teratospermia [sperm abnormalities]
  • Erectile dysfunction, impotence
  • Decreased serum testosterone
  • Lead presence in seminal fluid
  • Pituitary effects
  • Sterility, infertility
  • Effects on ovaries
  • Decreased libido / sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Intellectual and mental
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Death from violence, suicide, accidents
  • Impaired concentration
  • Deficits in short term memory
  • Cognitive function deficit
  • Sensory
  • Abnormalities in vasomotor coordination
  • Abnormalities in fine motor control
  • Deficits in visual acuity
  • Hearing loss
  • Somatosensory dysfunction [eg deficits in detection of vibration, changes in temperature]
  • Death
  • Increased risk of early death from cancer and all other causes
    Peripheral nervous system
  • Peripheral nerve disturbances [reduced touch sensitivity]
  • Slowed nerve conduction velocity [decreased reaction times]
  • Foot/ hand drop
  • Proprioreceptive pathways involved in balance altered
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive development
  • I.Q. levels decrease
  • Cognitive function deficits
  • Verbal function / linguistic deficits
  • Learning difficulties
  • Decreased educational performance
  • Decreased reading, maths, non-verbal reasoning ability & short term memory, even at blood lead levels less than 10µg/dL
  • Autism (7) in genetically predisposed individuals with metallothionein dysfunction
  • Hearing
  • Hearing impairment; auditory sensitivity decreased
  • Auditory evoked response patterns altered
  • Auditory processing altered
  • Sight
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Depressed sensitivity of rod photoreceptors
  • Perceptual function deficits
  • Visio-spatial skills deficit [e.g. jigsaws]
  • Digestive system
  • Impaired Vitamin D metabolism [affecting bone remodelling, mineral absorption and calcium uptake]
  • Colic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, anorexia
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Kidneys
  • Renal damage
  • Chronic lead nephropathy [kidney disease]
  • Death from nephritis [kidney inflammation]
  • Fanconi Syndrome
  • Gout
  • Renal hypertension
  • Increase in creatinine concentration
  • Nervous system
  • Encephalopathy [brain disease]
  • Cerebrovascular diseases, stroke, cerebral haemorrhage
  • Psychomotor impairment
  • Peripheral nervous system impairment [eg wrist-drop]
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Slowed nerve conduction velocity [slowed reaction time]
  • Tremor
  • Parenthesis, paralysis
  • Cardiovascular and circulation
  • Hypertension, elevated blood pressure
  • Increased systolic blood pressure in men
  • Cardio-toxic effects
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Anaemia; falling haemoglobin levels
  • Platelet dysfunction [red blood cell]
  • protoporphyrin
  • Increased ALA in urine
  • Increased protoporphyrin in urine
  • Increased risk of early death from heart attack or stroke
  • Behaviour
  • Fatigue, muscular exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbance, insomnia
  • Irritability, agitation, restlessness, aggression
  • Gastrointestinal / Digestive
  • MEffects on gastrointestinal tract
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Constipation, diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain, cramps
  • Weight loss, anorexia
  • Bone, muscle and joint
  • Bone marrow alterations
  • Myalgia [muscle pain]
  • Pain in buttocks and cramps in the legs as early stages of peripheral
  • Decreased longevity
  • Probable human carcinogen
    Effects of lead from animal studies
  • Impaired attention, learning and short-term memory in primates
  • Behavioural impairment; inflexibility in behavioural change in primates
  • Elevated blood pressure at moderate levels
  • Impaired immune system in new-borns of rats fed lead [greater susceptibility to asthma ]
  • Increased incidence of tumours (cancer) in rats born to mothers fed lead
  • Altered response to stimulant drugs; attenuation of drug induced hyperactivity in rats
  • Impaired attention, learning and short-term memory in primates
  • Teratogenic effect causing birth deformities
  • Low bone density in lab animals such as mice and fractures due to lead-induced osteoporosis do not heal properly
Lead Poisoned Pets and Your Family

Unlike the dramatic onset of clinical signs seen with most small animal poisonings, lead poisoning often has an insidious onset.

The potential sources of lead for domestic animals are numerous and widespread. Ingestion of lead-based paints is the most commonly identified source of lead in poisoned cats and dogs.

Renovations of older houses involving sanding or scraping lead based paint is believed to be the major origin of the lead based paint in these instances.

Other lead sources include lead acid batteries (e.g. car batteries), roofing materials, plumbing supplies, bullets, solder, pewter, linoleum, grease, putty, lead foil, toys, improperly glazed ceramic water or food bowls and fishing sinkers.

Cats only rarely chew or ingest non-food items, thus eliminating many of the common sources of lead that poison dogs. However, because of their grooming habits, cats are more a risk of accidental ingestion of lead particles that contaminate their fur and paws. The clinical signs of lead toxicity in dogs include convulsions or fits, vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bizarre behaviour such as hysteria. Lead poisoning is more commonly diagnosed in younger dogs because they are more likely to chew on objects. However, adult dogs may also be affected. In contrast, lead poisoning in cats often only causes loss of appetite and signs such as fits are uncommon. Vomiting and diarrhoea occur occasionally. Cats with lead toxicity are usually adult although occasionally kittens may be affected.

Diagnosis of lead toxicity involves either a urine or a blood test. The diagnosis is sometimes difficult and two different tests may be required to confirm that lead poisoning is present, particularly in cats.

Lead Toxicity in Birds

Lead poisoning of birds is common and it is often fatal.

Lead poisoning is often linked with other heavy metal poisoning's, especially zinc poisoning (from galvanised metal), and occasionally copper, chromium and mercury poisonings.

The signs or "symptoms" affected birds show are often and easily attributed mistakenly to other causes and disease processes. Lead poisoning can cause sudden death, or it can cause a slow debilitating death over months or years.

  • have your family blood tested for lead
  • reduce car use
  • boycott leaded products
  • remove lead paint and ceiling dust from your home
  • use lead-safe renovation techniques
  • be lead aware when cleaning
  • make a vital donation to the lead group of time or money
The use of Personal Protective Equipment, including:
  • Respirators complying with AS/NZS 1716 Respiratory Protective Devices and used according to AS/NZS 1715 Selection, use and maintenance of respiratory protective devices. If the results of the risk assessment identify significant chemical contamination, a full-face respirator may be required to provide the needed level of respiratory protection. Note: A respiratory protection program should be set up by management in accordance with AS/NZS 1715.
  • Where respirators relying on facial fit are being used, workers should shave daily as beard and stubble can interfere with the facial fit, which could result in exposure to lead containing dust.
  • Eye protection, complying with AS/NZS 1336 and AS/NZS 1337 whenever full-face respirators are not worn.
  • Disposable coveralls with fitted hood (the type suitable for use in agricultural spraying and asbestos removal work, changed at regular intervals).
  • Decontamination and Personal Hygiene [Information for contractors]
  • The adoption of thorough decontamination procedures before each work break, including the observance of a high standard of personal hygiene. This can be achieved by:
  • provision of soap and adequate washing facilities
  • washing of hands before eating, drinking and smoking
  • employers providing laundering of work clothes
  • placing any used disposable overalls into marked bags, which should be sealed for disposal with other waste
  • the containment and disposal of the removed dust and any contaminated clothing, rags and other waste should be in accordance with any NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW DECC) (formerly the NSW EPA) requirements
  • after the work has been done, all equipment must be decontaminated and the area cleaned of dust. Use wet methods to dampen down dust material before wiping up, or use industrial vacuum cleaners.
  • Training [Information for contractors]
  • Workers should be provided with training that includes:
  • the hazards associated with this type of work
  • an understanding of the health risk assessment process
  • an understanding of the results of health surveillance and biological monitoring
  • the selection, use and maintenance of respirators
  • safe work methods
  • acceptable personal hygiene for this type of work.
All training should be documented and a register of training kept.

Test for lead around homes or workplaces to find out if either of them is the source of your or your children's or pets' elevated blood lead level (greater than 2 micrograms per decilitre). Not enough blood lead testing has been done to know for sure but it's a fair assumption that the majority of Australians have a blood lead level above 2 micrograms per decilitre. Knowing where the lead is coming from allows you to remove the lead poisoned individual from the source or the source from their life, and thus to lower the blood lead level and reduce consequent health impacts, or even prevent early death from lead poisoning.

Test for lead if you want to prevent lead poisoning. Test for lead if you have any reason to suspect that it is present in the soil, dust, or paint in your house; particularly if you intend to renovate, and particularly if you have young children or intend having children. Test for lead in any source of water that doesn't come from the mains supply: rainwater/tank water, bore water, dam water, ground water, or river water.

Test any products you want to be sure do not contain the level or leachable form of lead that would make them unsafe for use. Such products may include children's toys, jewellery, pewter, artificial turf, ceramic ware, PVC products and chewable kids bibs and clothing snaps and fasteners etc.

If you are thinking of growing vegetables, or building a bird or pet enclosure, you will want to know if the soil contains too much lead. Good samples to test for lead from this scene in an old house would include:

  • window sill dust wipe;
  • play floor dust wipe;
  • vegetable garden soil;
  • bare soil in play area;
  • rainwater from the kitchen tap;
  • any flaking paint especially from wood or metal surfaces;

painted or PVC toys or other items mouthed by the child; for example: children's clothing snaps or fasteners.

We recommend that childcare centres use the kits to test that their equipment, play areas (artificial turf, soil etc) and toys are lead-safe. Landlords can be confident they are renting out lead-safe premises if they have used a kit to test dust on floors and windowsills, and in garden soil.

What would make you suspect that lead was present in the soil or dust or paint or drinking water or consumer product? Lead is present in an astonishing number of materials, but the greatest sources of lead particles in and around houses has been from paint and leaded petrol.

Paint: Any house painted before 1970 (in Australia, where this kit is mainly sold), or before 1978 in the USA, will almost certainly have been painted with paint containing lead, which, if removed or renovated without using lead-safe methods will leave lead dust or particles behind. If you're not sure about dates, the sample kit will provide the answer as to how much lead is in the paint.

Leaded petrol This was phased out in Australia for on-road vehicles in 2002, but there is a legacy of leaded dust in ceiling voids and other building cavities, and in dust in the living space, especially in carpets, and in yards and gardens.

This lead dust from paint or petrol is the greatest source of lead which children are commonly exposed to in homes. However, sucking on or swallowing leaded jewellery has also caused fatal lead poisoning in children.


The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of Pacific Building Service, and Pacific Building Services does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.