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Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping, or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the national Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in US) or contact your local health authority.
If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family's risk: clean up paint chips immediately; thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning firty or dusty areas; keep play areas clea; keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
If you suspect you have lead paint in your house or soil, call The National Lead Informatio Center at 1-800-424-5323 to get more information or visit them on the web at www.epa.gov/lead.
Engine grime can be difficult to wash off of your hands. If you don't have a hand cleaner handy, your kitchen cupboard probably contains a solution. Reach for either a vegetable or olive cooking oil and spread a dab over your hands. Rub your hands together, then wipe off with a paper towel. Cooking oils will also help remove oil-based paint from hands and arms.
To save on expensive solvent, try this when cleaning up brushes. Find two cans with plastic lids, one can smaller and one larger. Pour the proper solvent in the smaller can to clean the brush. After cleaning, pour the used solvent into the larger can. The sediments will settle out in a day or two so you can reuse the clear solvent that will remain on top.
If your was built before 1978 and you have children under the age of seven, you will want to have an inspection for lead-based paint. It's important to know that lead flakes from paint can be present in both the home and in the soil surrounding the house. The problem can be fixed temporarily by repairing damaged paint surfaces or planting grass over effected soil. Hiring a lead abatement contractor to remove paint chips and seal damaged areas will fix the problem permanently.
Lead-based paint is a serious health risk in older homes. Today, new products are available that may save the time and expense of lead removal procedures.