Protect yourself against lead paint hazards

The Canadian Paint and Coatings Association has fully endorsed a global initiative to eliminate all lead-bearing coatings worldwide, and that should get you thinking. Although Canada isn’t nearly as strict as the US in terms of regulations and requirements for dealing with existing lead paint, this toxic metal is just as dangerous north of the border as it is to the south. Lead paint was legal in Canada up to 1978, so you almost certainly have to prep surfaces that contain concentrations of lead now considered dangerous. Painting over leadbased paint isn’t dangerous in itself, but any kind of prep work that creates dust is. If you do have to strip lead paint chemically, wear a respirator, gloves and disposable coveralls. Never heat lead paint with a torch, but infrared paint strippers are a safe way to soften paint without liberating lead vapours. Dispose of stripped lead paint as toxic waste.

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