The lead was once known to be the most versatile metal due to its numerous uses. Due to abundant availability, lead found its use in construction, batteries, alloys, ammunition, pigments, paints, wheels, and a lot more for more than 5,000 years. As per various reports, more than 60% of buildings constructed before 1978, and almost 90% of buildings built before 1940, contain lead.
There is a long list of advantages lead offers, but with time many revelations have been made on the harmful effects of using lead. Scientists have conducted various research that demonstrates how the accumulated lead is toxic to human life and how the deposition of lead in the soil, air, and water is harmful to ecosystems. Hence, there should be strict rules governing the usage, removal of lead from existing sources, i.e., lead abatement, and lead disposal.
Lead poisoning and its harmful effects
Deposition of lead in the body over time leads to Lead poisoning. Children younger than six years are at high risk of Lead poisoning, severely affecting mental and physical development. New-borns can also suffer from lead poisoning. Various ways lead finds a way to the body are:
- Drinking contaminated water
- Consuming plants grown in lead-contaminated soil
- Ingesting old and lead paint chips
- Inhaling dust from renovation projects or agricultural work involving lead
There are various symptoms to diagnose lead poisoning in different age groups. Symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and pain begin to appear when lead acquisition in the body reaches high levels. Long term exposure to lead can cause severe problems like:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- High Blood Pressure.
Lead Abatement terminology and process
Lead abatement refers to the process of lead removal from the surface, i.e., diminishing or terminating the harmful lead on the surface to reduce or eliminate incidents of lead poisoning. Lead abatement is a risk-associated and complicated procedure and, therefore, regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
To conduct the lead abatement process, the firm must notify the EPA regarding it at least five business days before starting the lead abatement activities with several other details. Along with permission, a certified professional must perform the procedure with protective pieces of equipment like Disposable coveralls, Respirator, Goggles, Shoe covers, Gloves, etc. Since many paints are lead-based, they are associated with harmful effects, and lead abatement permanently eliminates these hazards.
Lead Abatement vs. Lead RRP
Lead abatement is a process specifically used to eliminate lead hazards at home permanently. Lead RRP refers to Renovation, Repair, and Painting, which may not be particularly for lead-related risks. Hence, lead RRP projects are for renovations, repairs, and painting to reduce lead-based paint hazards and not eliminate them permanently.
Since lead RRP activities also are risky work, only trained individuals should engage with it. The procedure of lead abatement comprises various phases, such as lead-based paint inspections, risk assessments, and lead-based paint removal. Since lead abatement is necessary to eliminate multiple risks, state or local governments can also initiate orders for it.