Lead Assessments & Management
Lead Assessments Are Performed By Professional Scientists And Include:
- Review of available and existing building information
- Survey of the building noting presence of potential lead-containing materials
- Collection and submission of samples of potential lead-containing materials for analysis including paint chips, dust wipes, airborne particulates, soils, drinking water as required
- Summary of results and recommendations of assessments in a report prepared and delivered to the client
- Abatement project management: design, planning, management, and monitoring as required on behalf of clients.
What is lead?
Lead is a relatively soft, malleable heavy metal element with a bluish-white colour which tarnishes upon exposure to air. Although metallic lead occurs in nature it is rare, and is more often found in ore at compositions less than 10% by weight. Lead has been commonly used for thousands of years due to its abundant distribution, and ease of processing (extraction, malleability, and smelting).
Why is lead a material of human health concern?
If ingested, lead is poisonous to animals and humans. It damages the nervous system, is a neurotoxin, causes brain disorders, accumulates in both soft tissues and bones, and excessive blood lead levels are associated with blood disorders. Lead poisoning, also known as plumbism, is a medical condition caused by increased levels of lead in the body which interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. Due to interference with development of the nervous system, lead poisoning is of particular concern for children and can lead to potentially permanent learning and behavioural disorders.
Exposure to lead may occur via inhalation of contaminated air, or ingestion of contaminated water, soil, food, and/or consumer products. Risks exist for children potentially ingesting lead-based paint chips and/or inhalation of lead dust in older homes. Occupational exposure via inhalation of lead paint dust is a common cause of lead poisoning in adults. Symptoms of lead exposure may include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in acute cases seizures, coma, and death.
Where are lead-containing materials found?
Lead is used in building construction as part of solders, pewters, fusible alloys, and as a radiation shield, and in plumbing, water faucets, ceramic pottery glaze, and crystal. However, one of the largest threats of lead exposure exists in the deterioration of lead-based paint products in older buildings, where chipping and paint dust generation has occurred. It is estimated that nearly 40% of Canada’s commercial buildings, schools, and houses have lead-based paints both inside and outside. Paint containing a high lead content was common until 1977, following which lead in consumer paints was limited to 600 mg/kg in the USA. Canada unofficially adopted this USA regulatory level of lead in consumer paint in 1991, and by 2005 was officially regulated based on the USA regulatory level.