Lead paint stabilization is a method of interim control. Unlike lead paint abatement, stabilization and other interim controls are meant to temporarily reduce exposure to lead paint hazards. Repairing physical defects that cause paint deterioration, removing loose paint and other material from surfaces containing lead paint, and applying new paint or protective coatings are all methods of stabilization.
Stabilization and other interim controls are generally favored over permanent abatement when the lead paint-containing surfaces are intact and the building is structurally sound, or if the building containing the lead hazard is slated for demolition or renovation within the next few years. In situations such as these, lead exposure results primarily from chipping paint, lead dust, and/or lead-contaminated soil, and stabilization is sufficient to remove the lead hazard. Lead paint stabilization is also sometimes used when permanent abatement is not financially possible.
Despite its advantages, there are some requirements and regulations that must be observed when performing lead paint stabilization. Anyone performing lead paint stabilization must be trained according to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration’s Hazard Communication requirements and must either be supervised by a certified lead paint abatement supervisor or have completed a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved training course. In addition, when performing lead paint stabilization, there are three operations that must be performed. First, any physical defect in the paint surface which may be causing deterioration must be repaired. Then, any loose paint or other material on the paint surface must be removed. Finally, a new protective coating must be applied.
Anyone performing lead paint stabilization must also observe HUD safe work practices. The HUD safe work practices have four components: occupant protection, worksite preparation and containment, prohibited methods, and worksite cleanup. Occupant protection involves protecting occupants of the home or building where the lead paint is being stabilized from dangerous exposure to lead. Occupants must not enter the worksite during stabilization, and in some cases may need to vacate the building entirely for the duration of stabilization activities. The occupants’ belongings must also be covered or sealed to prevent them from being contaminated with lead dust. The second component of safe work practices, worksite preparation and containment, involves making sure the work site is properly prepared to ensure that lead dust and lead-contaminated debris do not leave the worksite during stabilization activities. Warning signs must also be placed at each entrance where Lead Hazard Reduction activities are being performed. Prohibited methods, the third component of safe work practices, is put in place to ensure that unsafe methods are not used to stabilize lead paint. Prohibited methods of work include power sanding or aggressive mechanical means of lead paint removal without proper vacuum recovery of dust. The final component, worksite cleanup, involves removing all dust and debris from the work area, using approved methods, and ensuring that it is safe for occupation.