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Interim Controls

There are ways you can temporarily control exposure to lead based paint, dust, and soil. They are called interim controls.

Keep in mind interim controls will not get rid of lead hazards forever. They can, however, help cut down on the risk of exposure.

Lead dust in your home can be harmful to you and your family. It should be removed.

Safe Management of Lead-Based Paint in Your Home

Interim controls are actions you can take to reduce lead hazards in your home without hiring an abatement contractor. They are less expensive than abatement and a good alternative if you cannot afford abatement, but it is very important to remember that the results are only temporary. Nevertheless, if maintained properly, interim controls can protect you and your family for a long time. A list of interim controls follows.

They can be used separately or together:

ADVANTAGES of Interim Controls

Less expensive than abatement.

Can be implemented immediately.

DISADVANTAGES of Interim Controls

Lead-based paint remains in housing.

Continuing expense, if done regularly.

Requires ongoing monitoring of paint condition and dust levels.

When Interim Controls Will NOT Work

Interim controls will not work if:

Although interim controls will not rid your home of lead-based paint hazards forever, they can help you reduce the risk of exposure if you do them right and check your work often. To ensure success when you perform any type of interim control, it is recommended that you:

Surround your work area with thick, plastic sheeting to avoid spreading lead dust to other parts of your home.

Hire a certified contractor to conduct a clearance examination once you have finished your work. This is not required, but a contractor can determine if you successfully completed the interim control action.

Check your interim control work once a year. For example, if you have performed an interim control of lead-based paint and see signs of peeling or flaking, you may need to redo the work.

Lead dust in your home can be hazardous to you and your family and should be removed.

Removing Dust

Dust removal is a continuing process. You begin with an initial treatment and then follow up with re-cleaning as needed. Dust removal is always a part of lead hazard control measures, whether done alone or as part of cleanup following other work. Lead dust can be found on surfaces and in cracks throughout your home. Windows, worn floors, carpets, and upholstered furnishings seem to collect most of the lead dust. It is very hard to clean these surfaces thoroughly, and dust settles on them rapidly after they are cleaned.

Major Dust Collectors and Potential Dust Traps

Floors or steps
Cracks and crevices
Carpets and rugs
Upholstered furnishings
Grates and registers
Porch swings
Window troughs
Exposed soil
Window coverings
Heating, ventilation,
or air conditioners

Removing Lead Dust Inside Your Home

It is very hard to remove lead dust without specialized equipment. You will need to use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter combined with wet cleaning methods.

At the same time that you undertake a cleaning project, have all the drapes and curtains professionally cleaned, and replace the filters in heating and air-conditioning units. Have your rugs and carpets professionally cleaned. If you cannot have them cleaned professionally at this time, clean your carpets in the following manner:

For rugs and carpets that can be folded over:

HEPA vacuum the carpet.

Fold the carpet over in half and HEPA vacuum the bottom side of the carpet.

Vacuum the topside of the carpet again.

If there is foam padding under the carpet, clean both sides of the padding.

Vacuum the floor under the carpet.

For carpets that cannot be folded over (such as wall-to-wall carpeting):

Vacuum the carpet in a side-to-side direction.

Vacuum the carpet in a side-to-side direction, opposite the first direction.

Steam clean the carpet using a solution containing detergent specifically made to reduce static between the carpet and lead dust.

For upholstered furnishings:

HEPA vacuum each surface three to five times.

Removing Lead Dust From the Exterior of Your Home

Lead in exterior dust can be dangerous because it can be tracked inside your home. You need to remove as much dust and dirt as possible from all paved surfaces on your property (such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, and parking areas). Removing all lead dust outside your home may not be possible, but by following some simple steps you can reduce your family's exposure to exterior lead dust.

These measures need to be repeated often to maintain safe lead dust levels outside your home:

Remove all large items, such as outdoor furniture, from the areas you are going to clean. Dampen the areas with water to control the spread of lead dust.

Vacuum all hard surfaces with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. Clean all surfaces continuously until no visible dirt or dust is present.

Carefully empty the dust collected in the vacuum cleaner, being sure to dampen it with water first to control the spread of the collected dust.

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