Lead Paint Discovered After Scraping: Uh-Oh.
To preface this--I'm a hypochondriac. But I think I may have good reason to be concerned this time around.
Briefly: bought a house six years ago that was built in the 1920s. Front porch paint has been chipped/peeling for years. Decided this was the summer to tackle it. Stripped down to what I thought was the bottom coat of paint and tested it with those LeadChek swabs from Home Depot--negative.
Went to work for the next 3-4 days using non-toxic strippers (Citri-Strip, Smart Strip) and scraping up the 4-5 layers of paint over the wood planks. I'd say 80% of the time, the paint came off "wet," soggy with the stripper, but I definitely noticed some dust being kicked up, especially when the Citri-Strip had dried.
Saturday: was down to a new, undiscovered layer of bottom paint, a cream color. Bought a sander and was ready to go to town but decided to test for lead again just in case. This time, it came up positive. Cue pacing and restless sleep.
Needless to say, I didn't sand. I sprayed the porch down with water, wet-scraped what little paint was still loose, and then used a deck wash to get rid of any dirt or grime, spraying most of the run-off on to a canvas tarp. Just ordered some EcoBond from Home Depot and will use that to encapsulate the porch before I prime and paint it.
I now have a phone call into my physician to see if I can get tested for lead in my blood. My question: how much should I worry, and how much is EPA hysteria? I wore an N95 respirator the entire time I worked--though I know N100 would've been better for lead--took off my work clothes/shoes before entering my house, and jumped in the shower immediately each time.
I also plan to seal my driveway and "trap" any residual paint chips that way. So--should I panic now, or wait until my blood results come back?
I don't think you have anything to worry about. You don't have any long term exposure to the lead based scrappings. I'd sweep or vac them off the driveway prior to seal coating.
For the hypchondriac the are tests for heavey metals and chelation can be used to get rid of it, not usually covered by medical. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it, but that's me.
You do not have elevated BLL (Blood Lead Levels) after what you did. I promise you.
You used some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and that is more than the scores of people that work on their homes without any knowledge of the lead.
Lead is more of an issue for children in developmental stages as it can create long term issue.
You will not require chelation but Neal's advice is 100% spot on.
Most of the children that have BLL are as a result of living in poorer conditions and walking around on their hands and feet in the containment as well as breathing in the dust from the sill troughs.
You won't see higher BLLs in adults unless they are contractors and use zero PPE.
I promise you that you are going to be fine.
Do the clean up as Neal said and have a beer.
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