Lead paint

Lead paint

Overview
Lead paint or lead-based paint (LBP) is paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

 containing lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, a heavy metal
Heavy metals
A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. It mainly includes the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. Many different definitions have been proposed—some based on density, some on atomic number or atomic weight,...

, that is used as pigment, with lead(II) chromate
Lead(II) chromate
Lead chromate is a chemical compound, a chromate of lead. It has a vivid yellow color and is practically insoluble in water, and as a result, is used in paints under the name "chrome yellow"...

 (Pb
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

Cr
Chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

O4
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, "chrome yellow
Chrome yellow
Chrome Yellow is a natural yellow pigment made of lead chromate . It was first extracted from the mineral crocoite by the French chemist Louis Vauquelin in 1809...

") and lead(II) carbonate(Pb
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

O3
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, "white lead
White lead
White lead is the chemical compound 2·Pb2. It was formerly used as an ingredient for lead paint and a cosmetic called Venetian Ceruse, because its opaque quality made it a good pigment. However, it tended to cause lead poisoning, and its use has been banned in most countries.White lead has been...

") being the most common. Lead is also added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. However it is one of the major health and environmental issues with paint. In some countries lead continues to be added to paint intended for domestic use whereas in others regulation exists that prohibits this, though lead paint may still be found in older properties painted prior to the introduction of such regulation e.g.
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Encyclopedia
Lead paint or lead-based paint (LBP) is paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

 containing lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, a heavy metal
Heavy metals
A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. It mainly includes the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. Many different definitions have been proposed—some based on density, some on atomic number or atomic weight,...

, that is used as pigment, with lead(II) chromate
Lead(II) chromate
Lead chromate is a chemical compound, a chromate of lead. It has a vivid yellow color and is practically insoluble in water, and as a result, is used in paints under the name "chrome yellow"...

 (Pb
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

Cr
Chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

O4
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, "chrome yellow
Chrome yellow
Chrome Yellow is a natural yellow pigment made of lead chromate . It was first extracted from the mineral crocoite by the French chemist Louis Vauquelin in 1809...

") and lead(II) carbonate(Pb
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

O3
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, "white lead
White lead
White lead is the chemical compound 2·Pb2. It was formerly used as an ingredient for lead paint and a cosmetic called Venetian Ceruse, because its opaque quality made it a good pigment. However, it tended to cause lead poisoning, and its use has been banned in most countries.White lead has been...

") being the most common. Lead is also added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. However it is one of the major health and environmental issues with paint. In some countries lead continues to be added to paint intended for domestic use whereas in others regulation exists that prohibits this, though lead paint may still be found in older properties painted prior to the introduction of such regulation e.g. in the U.S.
Lead-based paint in the United States
Lead-based paint in the United States resulted in a court case against the Lead Industries Association.Due in great part to studies carried out by Philip J. Landrigan, paint containing more than 0.06% lead was banned for residential use in the United States in 1978 by the U.S...

 and the U.K.
Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom
Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom was banned from sale to the general public in 1992, apart from for specialist uses. Prior to this lead compounds had been used as the pigment and drying agent in different types of paint, for example brick and some tile paint-White lead paint:Up until the...

 and Australia. Although lead has been banned in household paint since 1978, traffic paint still may contain lead. Alternatives such as water-based, lead-free traffic paint are readily available. Many states and federal agencies have changed their purchasing contracts to specify lead-free traffic marking paint.

Toxicity


Although lead improves paint performance, it is a dangerous substance. It is especially damaging to children under age six whose bodies are still developing. Lead causes nervous system damage, stunted growth, and delayed development. It can cause kidney
Kidney
The kidneys, organs with several functions, serve essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and...

 damage and affects every organ system of the body. It also is dangerous to adults, and can cause reproductive problems for both men and women. Lead paint is particularly dangerous because it tastes sweet therefore encouraging children to put lead chips and toys with lead dust in their mouths.

One myth related to lead-based paint is that children must eat leaded paint chips to develop lead poisoning. In fact, childhood lead exposure can occur by way of ingestion of lead dust through normal hand-to-mouth contact during which children swallow lead dust dislodged from deteriorated paint or leaded dust generated during remodelling or painting

Regulation


The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 has passed a directive controlling lead paint use.

The United States government's Consumer Product Safety Commission
Consumer Product Safety Commission
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is an independent agency of the United States government created in 1972 through the Consumer Product Safety Act to protect "against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products." The CPSC is an independent agency that does...

 banned lead paint in 1977 (16 Code of Federal Regulations CFR 1303). In an announcement dated September 2, 1977, "The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has culminated a major regulatory proceeding by issuing a final ban on lead-containing paint and on toys and furniture coated with such paint. This action was taken to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in children who may ingest paint chips or peelings.".

Effective April 22, 2010, the US EPA now requires that all renovators who work in homes built pre 1978 and disturb more than six square-feet of lead paint be RRP certified. The new regulation will affect over 100,000 renovators across the country. Renovators can find out more about the program and training locations at.

For manufacturers, the CPSC instituted the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 which changed the regulations on lead content of paint from 0.06% (w/w) to 0.009%, or 90ppm, on August 14, 2009.

Lead paint in art


In art, lead white is known as flake white
White lead
White lead is the chemical compound 2·Pb2. It was formerly used as an ingredient for lead paint and a cosmetic called Venetian Ceruse, because its opaque quality made it a good pigment. However, it tended to cause lead poisoning, and its use has been banned in most countries.White lead has been...

, also sometimes known as Cremnitz white. Flake white is traditionally considered to be the most structurally sound underpainting layer for oil painting
Oil painting
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil—especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil. Often an oil such as linseed was boiled with a resin such as pine resin or even frankincense; these were called 'varnishes' and were prized for their body...

, possessing a combination of flexibility, toughness, and permanence not found in other paints, and certainly not in the other white pigments. Genuine flake white is difficult for artists to obtain in many countries, even though other toxic paints (such as the cadmium
Cadmium
Cadmium is a chemical element with the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Similar to zinc, it prefers oxidation state +2 in most of its compounds and similar to mercury it shows a low...

-based colors) may be readily available. Where flake white is currently available to artists, it is usually only in small tubes designed for painting, not in the larger cans traditionally used for underpainting (coating the canvas prior to the actual painting) which for centuries was flake white's most important purpose.

Artists' use of lead paint is mostly associated with oil painting on linen or cotton canvas. In the relatively rare cases where it has been used in works on paper, it will often become discolored over long periods of time. This is due to the reaction of the lead carbonate in the paint with traces of hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of expired eggs perceptible at concentrations as low as 0.00047 parts per million...

 in the air and with acids, often from fingerprints.
As a result, many older works on paper that used lead paint now show some discoloration.

Substitutes


Paint manufacturers replaced white lead with a less toxic substitute, titanium white (based on the pigment titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide
Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula . When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. Generally it comes in two different forms, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of...

) which was first used in paints in the 19th century. (In fact, titanium dioxide is considered safe enough to use as a food coloring
Food coloring
Food coloring is a substance, liquid or powder, that is added to food or drink to change its color. Food coloring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking...

 and in toothpaste
Toothpaste
Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used with a toothbrush as an accessory to clean and maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth. Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene: it serves as an abrasive that aids in removing the dental plaque and food from the teeth, assists in suppressing...

, and is a common ingredient in sunscreen
Sunscreen
Sunblock is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn...

.) The titanium white used in most paints today is often coated with silicon or aluminum oxides for better durability. Titanium white has been criticized for leading to "chalkiness" when mixed with colors, and the possibility of decreased permanence of organic pigments mixed with it due to its high refractive index.

Zinc white is less opaque than titanium white, and is often seen as a superior white for lightening other pigments in mixtures. Although zinc white is the standard white for the watercolor medium it has long been of debatable permanence in oils. Critics of the pigment argue that its use leads to excessive cracking and delamination, even when very sparingly mixed with other pigments such as lead white.

Some art-supply manufacturers supply a "lead white hue," a mixture, usually of titanium and zinc white, which attempts to imitate the hue of genuine lead paint without the toxicity. It does not, however, have the desirable structural (physical) properties of lead white.

Real estate maintenance and renovation


Humans can be poisoned during unsafe renovations or repainting jobs on housing that has lead paint. Therefore, it is encouraged to carefully stabilize any deteriorated (peeling, chipping, cracking, etc.) paint in a lead-safe manner and take precautions during preparation for repainting.

Lead-based paint on the exterior of structures weathers to
give flakes and powder. The degraded paint particles accumulate
in the soil near the structure. Lead-based paint used
on interior surfaces can also degrade to produce lead-containing
dust. Sanding coatings prior to repainting generates
lead dust. Sanding the exterior of a structure without proper
equipment can cause lead contamination inside the structure.
Methods used to remove lead paint can themselves generate
lead dust. This is particularly true when unacceptable
methods and work practices are used. Poorly performed
abatement can be worse than no abatement. Micron-sized
lead dust particles can remain airborne for substantial periods
and cannot be completely removed by standard cleaning
methods. When working on old painted surfaces, assume
that one or more of the paint coats contain lead. Take precautions
accordingly.

See also

  • Lead-based paint in the United States
    Lead-based paint in the United States
    Lead-based paint in the United States resulted in a court case against the Lead Industries Association.Due in great part to studies carried out by Philip J. Landrigan, paint containing more than 0.06% lead was banned for residential use in the United States in 1978 by the U.S...

  • Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom
    Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom
    Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom was banned from sale to the general public in 1992, apart from for specialist uses. Prior to this lead compounds had been used as the pigment and drying agent in different types of paint, for example brick and some tile paint-White lead paint:Up until the...

  • Environmental issues with paint

Further reading


External links