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The LEAD Group Inc
The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the
environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
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  QUESTION: Protection against lead dust, 05 Dec 2005, Victoria Australia


its so wonderful to find your website - i have been going around in circles in my mind worrying about wether i am worrying needlessly. We have an unrenovated Victorian weatherboard house in Collingwood and started restumping 1/2 of the house. The other half we are tearing down and rebuilding from march next year. The restumping process turned out to be a huge process as there weren't much stumps to be fixed. As the house has been resettling some of the plaster has fallen off, there are quite a few cracks in the walls and the bottom 1/2 metre or so of the walls have been cut away. we are not living there at the moment and i have just found i am 5 weeks pregnant. the house will be finished in a week or so - but as we weren't looking to replace the walls until next year when we build the rest of the house - i am concerned that our plans to cover up the cracks and tape up the bottoms of the walls with plastic sheeting may not be adequate to protect me from lead dust particles. the house could continue to settle and there is a lot of dust in there at the moment.

in summary - i guess i just don't know who to ask about whether there is safe way to seal it up temporarily or whether we should just replace the walls before moving back into the house. I have asked a number of builders about this and they have NO idea. i was starting to think i was just being paranoid... any advice would be greatly appreciated!

thank you ever so much.

ANSWER: 06 Dec 2005

Hi Keri,

My apologies for the delay in answering your questions concerning renovation. Due to the lack of funding in The LEAD Group many of our important clients such as yourself will never be able to get professional advice from one of our volunteer staff members. All the staff at The LEAD Group are currently volunteers who dedicate their time and support to people like you. It would be great if you can support our service so we can support you in future services. If the walls were well protected from any sources of lead dust then they shouldn't be of any concern re: breathing in lead. This booklet that I am forwarding to you answers most of your concerns about protecting yourself from lead dust. The Six Step Guide To Painting Your Home If you're still concerned about the level of dust in your house you can always do a basic DIY home lead assessment test which you can purchase from us, and then send the samples to the Lab in Sydney.

The other components of our Info Pack 3 on lead paint management which are available in electronic format are as follows:;
A Renovator’s Guide to the Dangers of Lead Full;;;;;
About Lead-Based Paint;
Lead Paint Safety;
[In Primary Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning — The Only Solution (available for purchase or by subscription only ) By John F. Rosen, M.D., and Paul Mushak, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2001; 344:1470-1471 May 10, 2001, you can read why full lead paint removal is the best public health policy and best for all the future residents/tenants of a home, childcare centre or other building.

Full article available here:, also attached.

 Their 2-page article states, inter alia:

“For the primary prevention of lead poisoning from paint, we recommend permanent abatement -- that is, the complete removal or replacement of lead paint before a child lives in a home.”];;;;;

Good luck with the work.
Yours Sincerely
Shahilla Balachandran, Volunteer Information Officer


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