Lead-based Paint: Hard to See, Easy to Find
Was your home built before 1970? Prior to research on the potential dangers of lead exposure, many Australian homes were built and decorated with materials containing high levels of lead, mainly in the paint on the wall but also in other areas. Our team here at Healthy Homes and Gardens visited a client’s 1970’s home to test for traces of lead with a XRF Bruker S1 TITAN. The home had recently undergone renovations and the homeowner reached out to HHAG to analyse the original section of the home.
The main areas of concern for this house were the family bathroom, doors, walls, windows, garden shed and the eaves on the exterior of the home. The ‘safe’ limit of lead is 0.1% according to Government of Western Australia Department of Health (Healthy WA, 2021) and fortunately the garden shed, walls and doors of the home were within the ‘safe’ levels of lead.
However, the window paneling, bathroom and eaves on the exterior of the home tested positive for potentially hazardous levels of lead.
The homeowner’s main priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of the family members within the home by eliminating traces of lead, whilst aiming to maintain the original features of this 1970’s home.
Although the front door tested within limits, the brass paneling on the front door and living room windows contained high levels of lead. To ensure that no one comes into direct contact with lead by touching the window paneling, the homeowner is looking for ways to cover the paneling to form a protective layer over the contaminated features.
Whichever way the homeowner decides to go, she would like to maintain the value of the home’s original features, while simultaneously protecting residents and guests from coming into contact with these areas. Fitting a sheet of glass directly on top of the window paneling could be an effective solution, as it would provide a barrier over the contaminated section of the window.
The majority of surfaces within the bathroom such as the vanity, sink tiles, bath tiles, bathtub, soap dish, bathroom walls and door contained significantly high levels of lead (up to 3.7 mg/ cm2). Therefore, the contaminated features of the bathroom will need to be removed by a professional if they decide to renovate this area as the exposure and dust are potentially hazardous.
The main motivation for the client to book the lead paint house test was to check whether the eaves on the exterior of the home were painted with lead-based paint before going ahead and repainting them. The analysis on the eaves indicated that it had high levels of lead (up to 2.4 mg/ cm2).
In this case the paint on the eaves were chipped, cracked, and worn down due to weather and age. Therefore, the paint on the eaves will require professional removal prior to any repainting.
In conclusion, the results from this lead paint house test analysis discovered hidden traces of lead in high contact areas. Identifying and professionally removing lead is essential to ensure you and your family’s health.
If you are concerned about lead in your home, find out more about our lead paint house surveys here: https://www.healthyhomesandgardens.com.au/lead-paint-testing