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Safe Home Project: 5 Ways To Work with Lead Paint

As the days get longer and weather gets less temperamental, home projects and renovations are starting to blossom up throughout every neighborhood. With about 80% of our region’s housing built before 1978, when the ban of lead-based paint took effect, your small home project may not be as straightforward as you thought. But never fear – our Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is here! Get started learning the basics now and expand your expertise this summer with our Lead-Safe Home Projects workshop.

  1. Use Plastic Containment – To properly contain lead dust and debris during a project, you need to rely on heavy-duty, single-use plastic to cover and secure flooring and furniture. We recommend purchasing 6 mil plastic in a color that contrasts with the paint you’re disturbing – you’ll see exactly where all the debris is falling and can walk and work over the plastic without worries of rips and tears.
  2. Wear a Proper Respirator Mask – Lead exposure happens as lead particles enter either our nose and mouth, pass to our digestive system or lungs, and then travel into our blood stream. An N-100 respirator mask will be your most important piece of protective equipment to sufficiently protect you from lead dust. Make sure it fits properly by following the instructions on the packaging or following guidelines for either a reusable or disposable mask.
  3. Follow Lead-Safe Renovation Methods – Safe practices for lead dust and debris disturbance depend on the effectiveness of your containment and the addition of water to help dampen and direct dust down to your plastic sheeting. Utilizing tools such as sanding sponges, wire brushes, paint scrapers, and fume-free paint stripper with a full bucket or spray bottle of water is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make your project lead-safe.
  4. Complete Effective Project Cleanup – Lead dust and debris is the likely cause of over 50% of childhood lead poisoning prevention cases in Multnomah County. Proper containment followed by sufficient cleaning will prevent you from contaminating your home with lead dust. Make use of a soapy solution, disposable towels, string mop, and a HEPA Vacuum to ensure all the lead has been removed.
  5. Attend a CEP Workshop – We offer a Lead-Safe Home Projects workshop every month for people taking on Do-It-Yourself projects involving lead-based paint. We will walk you through completing a DIY lead-paint disturbing project step-by-step and provide you with resources and referrals to make your project safe and successful. Each qualified household will also receive materials to get you started, including an N-100 respirator mask, and the opportunity to borrow a HEPA Vacuum unit for free. Register today!

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