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Worrying about lead paint

(9 Posts)
AliceInChains Wed 14-Jan-15 11:34:57

So, long story short, we have lead paint on all the woodwork (and some of the walls) in our 1950s house (had it tested when I was pregnant in 2013). I'm pretty sure it's not the top layer, but a blue/grey primer underneath, and we have just been painting over it to avoid making a bad situation worse. However, my dd's bedroom has had some water damamge around the door and the paint is bubbling off. Decided the best course of action was to carefully lift it off and repaint. Contained it all within plastic and threw it away.

Problem is I can't stop worrying about the woodwork there and elsewhere getting chipped and exposing flakes of lead, especially downstairs where we are yet to decorate. I know I have issues with anxiety, and reading the internet about this is not helping, and I guess what I'm really looking for are reassurances that my ds, who is just one and crawling everywhere, has not/will not be adversely affected. But in a practical sense, what should I do? Replacing all the woodwork seems extreme (and expensive) but will just constantly patching up chipped woodwork do the trick, especially as I can't sand and every kind of vinyl eggshell stuff doesn't seem all that robust.

Also, kind of off topic, has anyone every had their lo tested for lead levels? I'm not sure if it's a good idea to pursue this - if either child's levels are high, I'm not sure how I'll react! But any advice?

Sorry, that wasn't that short really, was it?

PigletJohn Wed 14-Jan-15 12:41:43

I don't believe that a few chips will do any harm. The danger comes from sanding it off and releasing the dust into the air, or using an old-fashioned paraffin blowlamp to burn it off and inhaling the smoke. In the US a soft lead paint was formerly used that children used to scrape off and chew like gum. Incredible.

Modern chemical paint strippers are very weak and ineffectual safe, but there might be one that works. If you do need to sand it, get wet-and-dry paper that you dip in water, it is made with waterproof glue and a black grit, and you rinse the paint remnants off in a bucket so it is not released into the air, and sponge off the slurry. It is used a lot on metalwork and cars as it is very durable. It does tend to leave the surface somewhat polished which is not as good for paint adhesion as roughened.

specialsubject Wed 14-Jan-15 12:42:53

You don't need to replace all the woodwork. Painting over any risky paint with a modern paint (one bought after 1992) will eliminate the risk. Safe disposal of sandings/shavings (as you have done) is also needed.

your child will have to be a serious contortionist to be chewing the skirting boards - the big risks were toys painted with lead. Again, these went out decades ago.

taking the lead out of petrol has greatly reduced lead levels in everyone, and that was done years ago. (Pity we chose catalysts rather than lean-burn, but that's another story...)

there is no need to have your child tested for lead levels.

HTH. Ignore most of what you read on the internet from the 'all chemicals are dangerous' brigade. Except this post, of course. smile

AliceInChains Wed 14-Jan-15 13:14:08

Thank you. I just needed a good talking to really! I think I imagine chips being trodden to dust and then spread throughout the house and multiplying as they go. But that's my issue!

Could either of you recommend a good and child-friendly eggshell paint for the woodwork? My dad (a painter/decorator who laughed whenever I mentioned lead paint) always swore by Dulux Trade Diamond, but I don't know if it's that good with children in the house. And can I use Zinnser Bullseye to prime the paint without sanding?!

Many thanks in advance!

specialsubject Wed 14-Jan-15 14:12:41

is child-friendliness relevant for house paint? They won't be doing the job! Don't let them drink it or put their fingers in it. Otherwise it doesn't matter.

lead paint was a real issue which is why it was phased out. Here are the government guidelines on how to deal with it.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/221085/pb10973-leadpaintleaflet.pdf

mummycarolyn Wed 28-Sep-16 23:13:09

Guys- this isn't the case at all. First of all, there are no safe levels of lead. The risk is worse when you do any renovation or have any damage because it creates dust, which gets into your carpets and then is spread around by vacuums if you aren't using the dyson air filtered ones. however, if your kid experiences things with their mouth - licks the wall or eats a paint chip or whatever, he absorbs the lead. He won't have any symptoms, but he could be poisoned. I've heard of several cases where autistic kids gnaw on walls and banisters to self soothe and then end up having more serious problems. Honestly, invest the money in getting a lead expert in. As for the U.K. government guidance - it's quite self serving because the government doesn't want to admit there's a huge problem with the housing supply in this country. It's best to read the us guidance - which says that there should be no lead on "mouthable surfaces" or it must be contained.

Advice on taking care of lead:
www.haphousing.org/default/index.cfm/landlords/lead-paint/. There are links in there. You need to hire someone who knows how to handle lead paint removal.

Current regulation in US has mandatory blood tests for lead in 1 yr olds and 2-3 yr olds who live in high risk areas (aka older houses). Spoken with gp about it - this doesn't seem to happen here and the risk is unrecognised.

Shurelyshomemistake Fri 30-Sep-16 20:50:29

Surely that is more due to the very, very high probability of litigation in the US though. It's nothing to do with any Government conspiracy theory [puzzled].

What would the government's hidden motive be?? Most housing stock is in private ownership ... there would be no cost for remediation to the government, that would fall on householders. Unless you mean public buildings like hospitals, schools, etc? In which case asbestos is a far more pressing concern because it is so easily disturbed.

Mandatory lead testing? That sounds like it would fail cost-benefit analysis.

I'm not saying lead paint is not risky but I'm sure children are statistically more at risk from living near roads (particulates) or travelling in cars etc.

specialsubject Fri 30-Sep-16 21:16:19

The thread is from jan 2015 so possibly the op has done the job by now. The older paint was covered over, so unless the kid has white spirit for saliva, no issue with wall licking. Op was doing the right thing with debris.

Nice to know the americans are so careful - although they dont seem too worried about their kids getting the other kind of lead poisioning that really is killing them.

mummycarolyn Sat 01-Oct-16 13:39:40

That's fair - that's partially why we are staying in England. smile.

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