LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 4 no 1  Summer 1996    ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Lead Hobbies - Case Studies

by Robin Mosman, The LEAD Group

Another category of enquirers who have found themselves often inadvertently exposed to lead are people whose hobbies involve disturbance of old lead, or working with lead in ways that are presented as being harmless, without appropriate safety information.

Car Restoration

Case A was a young woman from country Victoria who with her fiancée had sanded back the under-coat paint on an old car they were restoring. "The garage is full of red dust." She had contacted a paint manufacturer who gave her the impression there was nothing to worry about when he said that it was unlikely to be red lead, as she had feared, but "only red chromate". On hearing from LEADLINE that this would still mean a possible 20% lead level, she decided to have the paint tested, and is now considering how best to do a lead-safe clean-up. She was most appreciative of the information from LEADLINE - "I don’t know anywhere else where I could have found out about this."

Lead sheeting craft

Case B contacted LEADLINE after seeing a segment on a TV home improvement program, where viewers were shown how to make a candle stick holder from lead sheeting with no mention made of the need for precautions. LEADLINE contacted the producer of the program with information about lead, and asked that they put health warnings in follow-up fact sheets, and that they mention on the program the following week the safety provisos around the use of lead. The concessions the producer was finally prepared to make were the inclusion of more safety instructions in the fact sheet. He made it clear that this was a considerable concession, as there are usually no warnings given on projects involving dangerous materials (eg resin-based Medium Density Fibreboard - MDF).


Case C was a young woman who had just begun attending a leadlighting course 3 hours a week. She had a 2 year old child and was 4 months pregnant. She contacted LEADLINE to ask whether working with lead could affect a foetus. " I have serious concerns about the place." There was dust everywhere and "the woman smokes while she works and makes coffee for people in the same room. Nobody asked if I was pregnant or gave any health warnings."

She had previously attended an excellent workshop run by a "man who was really lead aware. There was a studio separate from the home with no carpets and an extractor to clean the air. He said when he saw my pre-schooler - don’t do leadlighting on the kitchen table. He doesn’t teach any more because he’s been so successful as a leadlight artist." On receiving LEADLINE’s written information she decided to take it to the woman running the course and ask for a refund for the remainder of the course.

LEADLINE then contacted the person of whom she had spoken so highly. He was a medical doctor who had turned an enjoyable hobby into a successful business. He explained that "in Australia the leadlighting industry is unregulated. Home leadlight business is big business in Australia." He goes to workshops and sees people doing "all the things you shouldn’t: eating on the job, smoking, working over fuming lead, working from home..."

This doctor/leadlighter accepted our invitation to join The LEAD Group’s Technical Advisory Board. He has since written an information sheet for LEADLINE, which explains how it is possible to do leadlighting safely and an article (following).

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Last Updated 24 November 2012
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