Safety Tips for Proper Handling and Disposal of Lead Waste in Residential Restoration Projects

Throughout history, lead was widely used in construction materials due to its elasticity and resistance to corrosion. However, when the metal becomes airborne and is inhaled, it can lead to severe cardiovascular problems. Therefore, if you're restoring an old structure that's suspected of containing lead, it's crucial to observe safety measures to prevent lead exposure. Whether you need to remove water-damaged materials or repair damaged ones, here are a few safety tips for the proper handling and disposal of lead waste.

Inspect the Structure for Presence of Lead

It's not enough to assume there's lead in your property. You need to be sure before starting a restoration project. Therefore, talk to a certified inspector so they can check the building materials for the presence of the hazardous metal. Lead is commonly found in the following fixtures:

  • Plumbing and electrical fixtures
  • Paint 
  • Structural steel
  • Cable and wire casings
  • Flashing and glazing
  • Cast iron piping fixtures
  • Components made using brass and other common alloys

In addition to looking for lead, the inspector can also determine whether it's airborne. When lead paint is scratched, it forms inhalable lead dust. This is also the case when lead-containing materials deteriorate. Airborne lead should be removed and disposed of immediately to prevent inhalation.

Vacate the Property to Prevent Exposure

If lead is present and in the form of lead dust, there may be a need to vacate the premises during the removal process. This protects you and your loved ones from inhaling the dust. When absorbed in high amounts, lead dust can be toxic. It can damage the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. Therefore, during the removal and restoration project, find alternative accommodation for the home's occupants.

Use Personal Protective Equipment

During lead waste removal, the workers should wear personal protective equipment to prevent inhalation or ingestion of the material. These include bodysuits, disposable coverlets, safety glasses and respirators. Work with a removal expert who knows the measures necessary to prevent toxicity associated with the material. Doing so will not only ensure the safety of the workers but will also make sure the materials are handled with care. Also, it will save you from being caught in the middle of liability lawsuits resulting from lead exposure.

Dispose of Lead at a Hazardous Waste Facility

Finally, lead should be disposed of correctly to prevent exposure to the environment. Materials containing the hazardous metal should not be dumped in landfills. Instead, drop them off at hazardous waste facilities that know how to handle the waste best. After disposal, conduct a clean-up to rid the property of any traces of the metal.

Follow these safety precautions when dealing with lead on your residential property. Work with a hazardous waste disposal company for proper remediation and disposal of the waste.