Removal of thick layers of paint off old wood is a challenge for historic restorationists, contractors and homeowners. Professional and experienced preservationists know that most paint applied before 1978 is lead-based. Often remodeling and painting contractors do not. Most homeowners of older homes also do not. Common renovation activities that disturb lead-based paint, like sanding, power planning, dry scraping and heat gun usage can create hazardous lead dust, chips and vapors that are harmful to adults and children.
In fact, national public health
discovery of the prevalence of lead poisoning in children has precipitated a
new EPA regulation called "Renovate Right". This national law
requires contractors' to use lead-safe work practices during Renovation,
Remodeling and Painting (RRP) in pre-1978 housing and child-occupied
particular relevance for contractorsare the
requirements to contain, store and transport paint waste material safely to
prevent release of lead dust and debris and the prohibition of use torches and
heat guns above 1100° or power sanders or planers unless attached to a HEPA
vacuum. What methods for efficient and safe paint removal are left?