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Lead Paint Information

 

White lead (lead carbonate) was once the principal white pigment used in paints for houses and public buildings. Its use was restricted in Queensland in 1923. In the other States, paint with lead pigment was manufactured up until the late 1960s, although in diminishing quantities from 1950 onwards.
 
Paints containing white lead pose the greatest risk since the white lead is highly reactive, readily absorbed and its sweet taste is attractive to children. However, paint with more than 1% lead, or paint containing white lead, was prohibited for domestic use after 1970.
 
If paint is known to be pre-1970, is in poor condition and is accessible to children, it may present a health hazard, and the paint
sould be tested for the presence of lead. If it is found to contain more than 1% of lead by weight, careful and immediate measures are required to control this hazard.
 
Many older Australian homes and buildings still contain lead paint, even though it may be covered with layers of more recent paint. It was used mainly on exterior surfaces and to a lesser extent on interior doors and architraves, especially in undercoats and primers here concentrations of up to 20% lead were commonly used. Interior walls were not commonly painted with paint containing white lead, but some colours did contain red, yellow or orange lead-chrome pigments. Although all paints manufactured for Australian dwellings from the 1970s onwards will have contained less than 1% lead, it is possible that industrial paints, having higher concentrations of lead, may have been applied to housing and commercial buildings.
 
Lead in any form is toxic to humans when ingested and inhaled. Repeated inhalation or ingestion of lead paint particles may produce the cumulative effects of lead poisoning (plumbism). Thus, lead paint removal methods give rise to two potential health problems,
i.e. inhalation or ingestion of lead paint by the workers and public in the vicinity of the structure and the deposition of lead paint particles on nearby footpaths, streets or soil where they may be resuspended, tracked into houses or buildings where it can be inhaled or ingested.
 
It is recommended that children and pregnant women should not be present in an area when renovations that will disturb lead paint are taking place. Even low blood lead levels may have detrimental effects on young children's intellectual development and may cause other health problems. Children absorb the lead mostly through ingestion, i.e. by touching contaminated dust or soil and then putting their fingers in their mouths. They absorb a much greater percentage of the lead entering their bodies than adults do. During pregnancy, essential elements such as calcium are transferred from the bones of the mother to the baby, which process may release accumulated lead. Women of child bearing years and during pregnancy, therefore, should take special care to avoid sources of lead exposure.
 

The LEAD Group is a non-profit community group, set up in 1991 by parents of lead poisoned children and individuals who were appalled at the government's lack of services to address the needs of children affected by lead, and lack of a comprehensive strategy to prevent this most common environmental health problem.

Go to the Lead Group's Web Site

 

Dulux Wattyl NCS MPA
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