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QUESTION: Where can I buy a paint lead test kit in Adelaide? - 16 Jul 2007 SA, Australia

We are currently renovating our 1930 house and my husband is stripping paint with a paint gun. He wears a filter mask and has the room sealed as best he can with windows open. The fumes smell toxic to me. I want to know if there is a test we can do on the paint to see if it contains lead and if it does what should we do to get the paint off? He is stripping it back to the wood before repainting. He has already done 2 rooms. Can you let me know where I can get the test from in Adelaide? Many thanks.


From: Anne

To: The LEAD Group

Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:47 AM

Many thanks for your detailed reply. Our first step has been to buy a heat gun which is temperature controlled. The fumes when stripping are virtually non-existent now. We are pretty sure that the paint is not lead but my husband will be going for a lead test at some point so we will keep you informed.



ANSWER: 17 Jul 2007

Dear Anne,

The answer to your underlying concern as to whether the heat gunning fumes are toxic is best found out by blood lead tests for yourself, your husband and anyone else (including pets) that have been exposed to the heat gunning fumes. Blood lead tests are organised by the doctor or vet, as appropriate. I'll email you our Info Pack 56 on how to interpret a blood lead result in the light of recent research into the health effects of even low blood lead levels.

As for buying a lead paint test kit in Adelaide, that can be a little more difficult. You'll find a list of stores that might sell the Lead Check kits at Stockists of Lead Spot Test Kits - Australia in postcode order and you can search for nearby suburbs or postcodes by using Ctrl+F or just scroll down the list which is in postcode order.

If none of your local stores has Lead Check in stock, you can ask them to buy them wholesale from Air Met in Melbourne - ph 1800 000 744 - unfortunately Air Met will not sell direct to the public.

The only lead-safe way to use a heat gun on lead paint is to use a temperature controlled heat gun set on the "Low" setting. Remove everything removable from the area and lay plastic sheeting over the ground and tape it to the foundations or weight it with bricks on the outside edge. Ensure anyone who doesn't need to be there is absent, including pets. Ensure the operator wears a well-fitted respirator and doesn't hold the heat gun in any one spot for too long. Scrape the heated paint off the weatherboards onto the plastic and ensure it isn't crushed underfoot and walked off the plastic but it is gathered up and double-bagged in plastic prior to disposal in the rubbish bin.

I trust this helps but for more detail, please refer to The Six Step Guide To Painting Your Home and there is also the option of using an infra-red heat gun called Speedheaters from i-Strip, designed in Sweden for safe removal of lead paint. I am pleased to note the following FAQ on the i-Strip website "Q: Is there any danger from gases? site link below.

It is important to note that at the low operating temperature of 100 to 200 degrees c no plumbic (lead) gas is produced as the melting point of lead is 327.5 degrees c. When using the Speedheater 1100 inside it is recommended to slightly reduce the heating time to avoid any unnecessary exposure to paint fumes. You should always protect you and your employees from unwanted fumes or dust when removing paint. It is more important to use a respirator for indoor applications, as there is less air exchange inside than outside." [Reference:]

This advice complies with that given in the Lead Alert: 6 Step Guide though I'd prefer it if the last sentence said something like: "It is important to use a respirator for outdoor applications and it is even more important to use a respirator for indoor applications, as there is less air exchange inside than outside."

Generally, however, I would say that the mention of lead fumes is indicative that they've at least thought about it.

If you do decide to use one, it would be wonderful if you'd give me some feedback about it. Being an underfunded community info service there is no way we could afford to buy one of these I-Strip Speedheaters to test it. Good luck with the work and please let me know your blood lead levels so we can discuss any necessary follow-up such as medical management, nutritional intervention and using our Do-It-Yourself Lead Safe Test Kits  to test dust in your home and/or soil in your yard after the paint removal is completed to ensure the kits can also be used to test for lead in paint (by laboratory analysis rather than colour change), or drinking water, toys etc.

Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O’Brien

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