Lead is a poisonous substance found in the paint used in our commercial or residential premises. Dust that comes from flaking and peeling old paint is the primary source of lead. In NZ, the use of white lead in paint was banned in 1979 but some special-purpose paints still contain red lead. The greatest risk occurs from older buildings that may still have a lead-based paint coating as they may have been repainted without previous layers of paint being removed.
Lead poisoning occurs when paint residue containing lead is swallowed or fumes are inhaled. The effect of lead is cumulative – it builds up in the body, and if left untreated, can lead to brain damage and death. Symptoms of lead poisoning may include tiredness, poor sleeping patterns, moodiness, lack of appetite and stomach pains. Lead poisoning is a serious health issue for kids mostly under the age of 7 than the adults because they have the tendency to put almost everything in their mouth and you definitely would not risk their lives. Even your pets can be affected by lead for the same reason.
For pregnant women, even a low level of lead can be dangerous as it can affect the growth of the child. Lead based paint can cause a premature birth too. A high level of lead can affect kidneys, blood cells, brain and even cause your death. Appetite loss, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness etc. some symptoms if you are affected by lead. Lead dust can contaminate the soil around the residential area and it might be dangerous if you are gardening or cultivating vegetables.
The removal of lead-based paint can result in harm to both the person removing the paint and people in the vicinity, therefore you need professional to do this job. when you are removing lead based paint you really need to be aware of the dangers involved and try to minimize the airborne lead particles.
These are the guidelines as outlined in the MOH Guidelines that must be followed:
- Assume paintwork on pre-1979 buildings to be lead-based, unless it is proven otherwise by records.
- Use only workers who understand the hazards associated with lead-based paint and follow the procedures defined in the 2017 Guide to Hazardous Paint Management