To provide guidance on the management of painted surfaces on campus, reduce the risk of exposure to lead, and ensure compliance with NC Occupational Safety and Health regulations.
The requirements of this policy apply to all University employees. It also applies to contractors and their subcontractors who have been hired to work on campus.
There are many buildings on campus that were built before 1977 when the Consumer Product Safety Commission started restricting the amount of lead in residential paint to 0.06% by weight or less. There are areas on campus that have surfaces covered with paint that contains 0.5% or more of lead by weight, which is commonly refereed to as lead-based paint. While lead-based paint is a hazard to small children, the Center for Disease Control knows of no cases where adults have been poisoned by simply inhabiting a building containing this material.
Lead-based paints can be managed in place as long as they are maintained. Older paint that is in good condition or that has been painted over with newer paint is not a concern. Moisture problems or water leaks can cause paint to fail and start peeling. Problem areas such as these should be identified and brought to the attention of the maintenance staff.
There are also areas on campus that have surfaces covered with paint that contain less than 0.5%, but more than 0.06% of lead. This paint does not met the definition of lead-base paint, yet it contains lead in amounts that can cause an excessive occupational exposure to air-born lead dust if certain activities are performed on it. Manual scraping, sanding, or demolition of a structure covered with this paint can generate air-borne lead dust at levels that exceed the occupational Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for lead.
Any University structure built before 1978 must be presumed as having paint containing lead until proven otherwise. All paint containing lead must be properly maintained and repaired if damaged. Precautions must be taken to avoid disturbing painted surfaces during routine maintenance, repair, and renovation work.
A thorough cleaning is very important after a project that disturbs paint that contains lead. All dust, paint chips, and debris must be cleaned up and sealed in plastic bags. Vacuuming with HEPA filtered shop-vacs and/or wet cleaning methods must be used.
All waste such as paint chips, paint stripper residue or debris, protective clothing, and plastic sheeting must be collected and disposed of as hazardous waste. Contact EH&S at 515 – 6864 for information on disposal of lead related waste.
This information is intended as a general guideline only. EH&S has available information from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) on specific work practices and control measures. Contact EH&S at 515 – 8658 for any issues related to lead.