Information and Advice on Lead Paint Testing, Analysis and Removal in Michigan
Paint with lead can be found on a variety of materials, from children’s toys to industrial machinery. Lead can also be found in materials such as vinyl (e.g. mini-blinds) and ceramics. Lead is not completely banned as many people think; a small amount of lead is still allowed in certain types of paint and materials.
Testing for Lead-Based Paint (LBP)
Lead-Based Paint (LBP) has been defined by the federal government, as paint with a lead concentration of at least 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2). The main concern when it comes to LBP is for children who may be exposed to LBP hazards, which can include deteriorated LBP and/or lead contaminated dust or soil. Although there are other sources of lead exposure (e.g. lead in water, toys), residential LBP hazards, in pre-1978 housing, are considered to be the most common source.
Protech uses testing protocol that conforms to federal, state and local requirements. When testing for LBP, Protech utilizes an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer to give an onsite determination of the presence of LBP. The different testing protocols include the following:
- LBP inspection (a basic inspection to determine what painted surfaces are positive or negative for lead throughout the property),
- LBP Risk Assessment (an evaluation to determine if LBP hazards exist at a particular property, utilizing an XRF, dust & soil samples), and a
- Combination LBP Inspection & Risk Assessment (combination of the two testing protocols previously discussed, giving an all around picture of what LBP and LBP hazards are present).
Many homeowners would rather not know what LBP hazards exist within a home, thinking that their property will be “condemned” if it is tested, but this is not the case. In almost every situation LBP issues are fixable and Protech can provide a user-friendly inspection report with recommendations on how to correct any LBP hazards that may be present.
If LBP hazards are found and a homeowner doesn’t have the means to have the issues corrected, there are governmental programs, that can supply the homeowner with a loan, or in some cases a grant, to correct any LBP hazards that have been identified. See the Michigan Department of Community Health website for information.
LBP Hazard Control
Under state and federal law, there are generally two ways to address LBP hazards, one is a more temporary solution (less than 20 years) and the other is considered a permanent solution (more than 20 years).
- Interim controls, is considered the more “temporary” solution, and usually includes repairing any substrate damage, removal of loose paint, surface preparation, and application of a heavy duty coating, called an encapsulant, which will seal the LBP in much better than your typical paint or primer. Interim controls are typically a more cost effective solution to controlling lead hazards and can be a very efficient, although not permanent, option.
- Lead abatement is the “permanent” solution when addressing lead hazards. Lead abatement most often refers to the actual removal of the LBP covered component(s), e.g. window or door removal, or the removal of LBP from the component itself. Another form of lead abatement is called enclosure. Enclosure is the process of permanently covering up and sealing the LBP covered component(s). An example of enclosure would be installing and sealing new vinyl siding over old LBP covered wood siding.
After any lead hazard control activity, a lead clearance examination should be conducted. A lead clearance typically includes a visual inspection to make sure LBP hazards have been properly addressed, and dust sampling to verify that lead-contaminated dust has not been generated and spread during lead hazard control activities.
Whether it be testing and evaluating LBP or correcting LBP hazards, Protech can provide a practical, efficient service to fit our client’s diverse needs. We service anything from residential homes or large multi-family apartment complexes, to commercial or vacant buildings.