The Hidden Risks of Lead Exposure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hif1I65t4VM

The Hidden Risks of Leak Exposure

O.P. Almaraz:
Thanks again for joining us for another session of Q & Allied. Today, we’ve got John Meador, the president of Envirocheck. Thank you, John for letting us into your facility.

John Meador:
My pleasure. 

O.P. Almaraz:
Now let’s talk about what’s new with lead.

John Meador:
The EPA has put out the R.R.P. rule and it stands for renovation, repair, and paint. It’s a new rule that came out April 22, 2010. What it is, is new guidelines on how to test, when to test or assume for lead based paint, and also what the contractor needs to do in order to go through the process. There’s so many poisonings of children in America right now. That’s why the EPA has got all of our attention with this huge, $37,500 fine.

O.P. Almaraz:
In the R.R.P. course, they teach us that we can assume that anything pre-1978 has it, or we test. What’s your experience with that?

John Meador:
After the thousands of jobs that we perform, probably 95% or more are actually coming up negative. State of California has somewhat low rates of lead based paint. If you test it, it comes back negative, then you’re out of the jurisdiction of the EPA, verus if you assume it, now you’re stuck with lead based pant in the place, you might have to some kind of waste profiling which is complicated, and you’re under the jurisdiction of the EPA, and you could be subject to the fines. I think that testing is probably the best method to determine the course of action and why.

O.P. Almaraz:
What’s a test like that cost when you compare it to the abatement that you would have to do?

John Meador:
That’s a good question, too. We’re talking a few hundred dollars for Envirocheck to go out and do a test. The potential cost savings, could be thousands of dollars of all this additional procedures that you would have to follow, doing the R.R.P. rule.

O.P. Almaraz:
Let’s talk about what a contractor has to do when he’s dealing with lead.

John Meador:
Yeah, now the R.R.P. has what I like to call the three ‘C’s in the process. What you’re talking about is containment, control, and the third ‘C’ is cleaning.

John Meador:
Containment, what we do is we put plastic on the ground. Lead is heavy so it’s going to fall down onto the ground, so we want to put plastic out on the ground. 

John Meador:
The second item was control. You want to control your dust. That means that you’re not using power sanders unless you have a shroud system on it. That means that you’re not going to make a big mess and walk and track through somebody’s living room. 

John Meador:
Last, the third item is keeping things clean. You’re cleaning your tools, you’re cleaning your area, you’re cleaning your feet, you’re cleaning your hands. Finally, you do a clearance to verify that everything is clean in the end. 

John Meador:
That’s a real basic process that the contractor needs to follow.

O.P. Almaraz:
Talk to us about how Envirocheck tests for lead.

John Meador:
It’s real simple. You’ve got two methods. You’ve got the XRF method, and you’ve got the AAS method. 

John Meador:
The XRF stands for x-ray florescence. It is just how it sounds. It’s an x-ray gun. You put it on the surface that you want to test, and you basically shoot an x-ray at it. It tells you how much lead is there. We use this method for larger projects so we can get a number of samples. We can get it pretty quickly. You get instantaneous results. 

John Meador:
The other method is called atomic absorption spectrometry, or otherwise known as AAS. You take a knife or a tool and you scrape off the paint off your substrate. You put it in a little bag. Once we have it in the bag, we can take it back to the laboratory and that’s where the process begins. The process starts with leaching the lead out of that paint. We do that by immersing it in a heated acid compound. We actually use nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide. Once we’ve got the lead leached out into that solution, we then actually burn it and shine a light across it, and that’s how you get a spectrum analysis. We get those results pretty quickly, and that’s what keeps you in compliance. 

O.P. Almaraz:
Well John, thanks again man. Thanks for allowing us into your awesome facility. For you adjusters out there, I hope this is giving you some insight into the new R.R.P. role and the lead testing processes. Thanks a lot.

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