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  QUESTION: Precautions to take when using a heat gun, 26 May 2005, Victoria Australia

I came to your website while searching for "heat gun"; I read the cases about people suffering health effects from lead while using heat guns and wondered if you are aware of an appropriate mask/respirator or other personal protective equipment that is suitable for this type of work.

I have some reclaimed windows that I plan to strip and repaint or varnish.
If I worked outside with the heat gun do you believe I would be adequately protected?
Is it safer to use paint stripper instead?


E-mail 2 Sent: Friday, May 27, 2005 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: Precautions to take when using a heat gun
Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks so much for your prompt and thorough reply.
I will certainly get a copy of the brochure and consider carefully before going ahead.

ANSWER: 27 May 2005

Dear Belinda,

The only type of heat gun that is recommended is one that has a choice of temperature settings and then it is only recommended IF you use it on the low temperature setting. As an essential you would also wear a dual filter respirator properly fitted to your face. The two filters would be a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. Ensure proper care of the respirator so it is never lying around getting contaminated on the inside. Working outside is an added precaution (though certainly not a replacement for wearing a respirator) but you must be sure to capture on plastic sheeting (and double wrap in plastic at the end of each work session ready for disposal) the paint debris that will come off during the process. Don't work on windy days when you can't contain the debris to the plastic. The trouble with chemical strippers on wooden surfaces is that the stripper can dissolve some of the lead in the paint and take it on into the wood grain giving a non-visible potential source of lead dust during the necessary sanding stage to prepare the wood for repainting / re-varnishing.
Please refer to
The Six Step Guide To Painting Your Home

Best of luck.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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