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  • Window Work

Window sills and window frames on homes built before 1978 can have high amounts of lead-based paint. Since these items are seldom replaced, paint tends to build up on them. Follow these basic safety precautions for working on these types of windows:

  • For window pane/glass replacement, cover the floor inside under the window with 6 mil polyethylene plastic sheeting to catch any dust fall. Spray the work area surface with water to reduce the amount of dust generated when replacing the window pane/glass. Score the window pane/glass with a razor knife to facilitate its removal. Collect all dust and paint chips and dispose in a sealed plastic bag.

  • For window repair, cover the floor inside under the window with plastic sheeting to catch any dust fall. Spray the work area surface with water to reduce the amount of dust generated when repairing the window. Wet scrape deteriorated paint. Collect all dust and paint chips and dispose in a sealed plastic bag.

  • For window replacement, cover the entire inside window opening with plastic sheeting. Cover the floor inside under the window and the ground outside the window with 6 mil polyethylene plastic sheeting to catch any dust fall. Spray the window sill and frame with water to reduce the dust. Remove the window unit from the outside, if possible. Collect all dust and paint chips and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag.

  • Cleaning Up Lead Waste

Cleaning includes not only the removal of visible debris but also the removal of leaded dust particles which are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Pay special attention to cleanup activities to prevent contaminating other areas or exposing people to lead. Everyone working on your job should take the precautions given here to help prevent lead contamination.

  • Personal cleanup:

  • Vacuum dust from clothing using a HEPA filter equipped vacuum cleaner.

  • Wash your hands and face before you leave the work site.

  • Change your clothes and shoes before leaving the work site to prevent contaminating areas outside the work site. After removing your clothes, machine wash them separately from other family laundry.

  • Do not take off your respirator until after you have removed your outer protective clothing.

  • Shower and wash your hair right after finishing work to prevent spreading lead dust.

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Figure 163: Vacuum dust from clothing.

 

  • Daily Site Cleanup

Dispose of construction trash in a heavy-duty plastic bag (check with your State lead program to make sure there are no regulations in your State that prohibit this). Carefully remove the dust and trash from the plastic sheeting to avoid contaminating other areas. If possible, pass the trash out a window to avoid carrying it through the house.

  • Strain out paint chips from liquid waste and dispose of them in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Dispose of the remaining water down a toilet (check with your State lead program to make sure there are no regulations in your State that prohibit this).

  • Mop the floors with a recommended cleaning product using a disposable mop and water in areas where there is little dust, or vacuum with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. Change wash water frequently. Rinse with clean water. Dispose of used water down a toilet (check with your State lead program to make sure there are no regulations in your State that prohibit this).

  • Vacuum the plastic sheeting covering wall-to-wall carpeting with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner.

  • Mist outside areas using a garden hose before sweeping these areas with a broom. Avoid dry sweeping since it spreads lead dust. Shovel, rake, or vacuum (HEPA filter-equipped) trash into heavy duty plastic bags (check with your State lead program to make sure there are no regulations in your State that prohibit this) placed in cardboard boxes for support.

  • Clean your vacuums and tools with a recommended cleaning product and water.

  • Seal off the entryways with 6 mil polyethylene plastic if you have to leave a work site unattended.

  • Final Cleanup

Start your cleanup work from the dirtiest part of the work area and work toward the clean area of the house.

  • Work from the top of the room toward the bottom, cleaning ceilings first, then walls, counters, and floors.

  • Carefully remove any plastic sheeting used to protect surfaces by rolling or folding inward.

  • Wash floors and walls with a recommended cleaning product. Dispose of used wash water down a toilet.

  • Vacuum walls, floors, and wall-to-wall carpeting with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner.

  • Vacuum chair rails, window sills, casings, shelves, countertops, and baseboards again, once they are dry.

Am I done? Consider hiring a professional to test areas for lead dust contamination after your final cleanup. Call your local health department or the National Lead Information Center Clearinghouse at (800) 424-LEAD for a referral to a lead-testing professional.

  • Smart Remodeling Checklist

Before the work begins:

  • Have your paint tested for lead by a qualified professional.

  • Cover interior and exterior exposed areas with plastic sheeting.

  • Turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems.

During work:

  • Keep all non-workers outside of the work area.

  • Wear protective clothing and shoes while doing the work.

  • Use a properly fitted respirator equipped with HEPA filters.

  • Exercise caution when using paint strippers since they contain toxic chemicals.

  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke in the work area.

  • Do not dry-sand, blast, or power-wash to remove lead-based paint.

  • Do not use high-temperature heat guns or open flames on lead-based paint.

  After work is completed:

  • Remove plastic sheeting by rolling or folding inward.

  • Wrap construction debris with plastic.

  • Vacuum exposed areas with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner.

  • Wash exposed areas with a general all-purpose cleaner or lead-specific cleaning product.

  • Change clothes and shoes before leaving the work area. Machine wash separately.

  • Shower and wash your hair right after finishing work.

  • Test areas for lead dust contamination after final cleanup.

  • Helpful Contacts

You may need additional information on how to protect yourself while remodeling or renovating. For more information:

  • Call your State lead-poisoning prevention contact and your State Department of Environmental Protection to find out what assistance is available.

  • Call your local building code officials to find out what regulations apply to the renovation and remodeling work that you are planning.

  • Call your local health department to find out what other information is available about lead hazards and what assistance is available to you.

  • Call the National Lead Information Center at (800)424-LEAD to get a list of laboratories that can analyze paint and dust samples for lead, and to obtain other important lead hazard information, such as the pamphlets Lead Poisoning and Your Children and Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home. In the future, renovation and remodeling contractors may be required to provide a copy of this pamphlet to homeowners and occupants before they begin work.

  • Call the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control at (888) LEADLIST to obtain a list of trained inspectors.

  • Call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Job Safety and Health at (202) 219-8151 to get information on respirators and protective clothing.

  • Call the National Conference of State Legislatures at (303) 830-2200 to get information about the current State regulations for disposing of lead waste in your area.

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