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 paint or lead based paint is paint containing lead, added as either a pigment to provide colour or as a drier to accelerate the drying process. Typically lead chromate (sometimes referred to as chrome yellow), lead oxide (red lead) and lead carbonate (white lead) were added.
The toxic properties of lead are well established with legislation in place to protect workers and members of the public from exposure to lead. If you damage or disturb painted material, the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advice is to assume ALL PAINT CONTAINS LEAD. Disturbing and damaging paintwork before measuring its lead content, risks illegal and unsafe working. The HSE has issued Prohibition Notices in the past for dry scraping and sanding during a routine redecoration. Without a lead survey in place, to quantify lead in paint content your project may be at risk.
You may be surprised to learn that lead paint continued to be sold in the UK until 1992.
Lincoln Conservation offer a full lead analysis service, ranging from a simple staining to show which layers of paint contain lead, to more rigorous testing in our laboratories to determine the amount of lead contained on a weight for weight basis. We will attend site, carry out a surface analysis by XRF (if required) and safely remove the required samples with results presented in a jargon free and fully illustrated format.