Commercial Lead Assessments Yield Quick, High-Tech Results
Modern lead assessment techniques can look a bit like a scene from a sci-fi movie as white-suited technicians beam x-ray fluorescence from hand-held guns into the painted surfaces of long-vacant buildings.
But this real-life process is a critical tool in helping developers and property owners assess the environmental costs of rehabbing older buildings.
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) works by shooting an x-ray beam at a painted surface, which then emits a secondary fluorescent x-ray that is processed in the analyzer. Within seconds, an elemental composition report is available on the screen of the hand-held XRF device.
It’s an enormous time savings for lead assessment in large commercial buildings and facilities, which would otherwise require scraping paint samples off every surface to be tested and sending samples to a lab for analysis.
“The XRF is an efficient, cost effective and accurate method of conducting lead assessments over a large area in a short period of time,” said Omega President and Project Director Steve Rosas.
“This innovative technology provides a tremendous advantage for the renovation of large commercial projects where it is critical for developers and owners to get a sense of the removal and remediation costs as quickly as possible.”
The developers of a 16-story downtown Los Angeles building recently commissioned a lead assessment as part of their due diligence to determine the costs of renovating the building, which had been largely vacant for several years. A thorough and cost-effective lead assessment is the first step in developing a safe and cost-effective plan for lead abatement.
Effective Lead Assessment and Removal for Commercial Renovation
Lead is found in soil, water, old paint on surfaces and coatings throughout older buildings, and on various building components. It requires careful removal of loose and flaky paint from the building structure itself or the removal of painted building components in their entirety to ensure that lead dust is not released into the air in the process. The inhalation of lead dust causes lead to build up in the body and can cause lead poisoning over time. Lead poisoning is linked to serious health affects in both children and adults and can be fatal at high levels. As the Mayo Clinic describes on its website, “even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems.”
While children under 6 are most vulnerable, lead exposure poses health risks to adults as well, including high blood pressure, headaches, mood disorders, reduced sperm count and miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth in pregnant women.
As a result of such dangers, lead management and removal is strictly regulated by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – which enforces limits on workplace lead exposure.
OSHA regulations establish a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air – calculated over an 8-hour time weighted average. OSHA also requires periodic determination of lead levels in the blood of workers exposed to air concentrations at or above 30 µg/m3 for more than 30 days per year.
State and local governments and housing agency rules for lead assessment, inspection and disclosure requirements also govern the management of potential lead exposure.
To safely remove lead, engineering controls, air monitoring and personal protective equipment must be used for the health and safety of workers and occupants. It is important to use a certified professional for this work to ensure that lead removal is thorough, safe and in compliance with federal and state regulations.
Expert Environmental Management That Keeps Your Project Safe and Compliant
The experts at Omega Environmental have decades of experience working with developers, property managers and property owners to ensure safe and cost-effective lead assessment and abatement for renovation projects, including schools, commercial office buildings, military buildings, industrial facilities and historic renovation projects.
Omega provides unmatched expertise and services that can prevent your project from becoming bogged down in expensive and time-consuming delays and regulatory obstacles, while ensuring the highest level of safety and compliance.
With the Omega team as your partner, your project has the backing of a full-service environmental firm, with advanced training and certification in lead sampling, inspection and project monitoring – and available 24/7 to ensure the effective and timely resolution of your environmental management needs.
Contact us today to schedule a lead assessment for your commercial renovation project.