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Methods of removing paint safely


Method Safety measures
Wet sanding. This is the preferred option to reduce dust Reduce dust by wetting paint before rubbing down with wet and dry sandpaper.

Do not rub down with dry sandpaper and especially not with an ordinary power sander. This will release lead-rich dust into the air and the rest of the house.

Ensure that any residue is cleaned up.

Dry power sanding with a HEPA Vacuum Attachment This method is not recommended for the home handyperson. It requires skill and can only be done safely by contractors with the appropriate training and experience.
Scraping Ensure any debris is collected and the area cleaned up.
Abrasive blasting NOT recommended for properties and structures built or painted before 1970 or for boats because of the lead content of the paint and the large amounts of uncontrolled dust generated.
Blasting with heat: An electric paint stripper, hot air blower or blow torch will heat the paint and blister it, so that it can be scraped off. Note that the use of a blow torch will produce lead fumes. Beware also of fire risk. Wear a toxic-dust respirator if using a hot air blower, blow torch or electric paint stripper. Have a fire extinguisher or water handy in case of fire. If using a blowtorch indoors, make sure that windows are open and advise local fire authorities.
Chemicals: Usually used for small surfaces such as window frames. Wear safety glasses, overalls and gloves to avoid contact with the skin.

Keep the room well ventilated. Follow any instructions on the label.

Waterblasting: For outside surfaces. Clean up paint flakes. Use water to flush debris to a collection point for disposal.

Prevent debris spreading to other properties.

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