The health hazards associated with the exposure to lead in paint has been well known for many years. Lead was commonly used in traditional oil paints as both a pigment and a drier. The amount of lead contained within accumulated paint layers in historic buildings can be significantly high.
Lead paints began to be phased out in the UK during the 1960s, but only by a voluntary agreement. Most lead-based paint was finally banned from sale in the UK in 1992, with lead paints remaining in the supply chain until this time.
It is therefore extremely likely that contractors working on historic building sites will potentially come into contact with lead paint if painted surfaces are disturbed. For example, an electrician chasing new cables into painted walls or decorators rubbing down and preparing surfaces for new decoration can be exposed to lead paint.
Lincoln Conservation are able to analyse the accumulated paint layers and provide an indication of which layers contain lead (a qualitative analysis). Alternatively, a more in-depth analysis can be carried out providing an indication of the amount of lead contained within combined layers on a weight-for-weight basis (a quantitative analysis).