Quantcast Bird and Bat Deposits

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the presence of radon,
but they must be analyzed by a
Corrective measures for radon
qualified laboratory.
include sealing cracks
in foundation walls and insulating
basement areas to keep
the gas from rising to the upper
floors.
Lead Paint and Chemical Paint Removers.  Almost all
o
structures built before 1940 contain lead paint, whose
removal may create health hazards.  If the paint is not
peeling and remains tight to the surface, it is not a
threat.  However, paint particles loosened by scraping or
sanding can be inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the
skin to cause lead poisoning and permanent damage to the
central nervous system.  Chemical removers are considered
the safest way to remove lead paint.  However, the
chemicals themselves release toxic fumes that can cause
permanent lung damage with long-term exposure.  Most
paint-removing solvents contain hazardous chemicals such
as benzene, acetone, and methylene chloride.  Many
solvents are flammable, and  their vapor may cause fire
hazards in poorly ventilated spaces.
.
Blowtorches.  There may be a temptation to try to hurry
o
the process of paint removal by using blowtorches.
Blowtorches should never be used on historic structures.
The high heat produced by an open flame releases vapors
that may contain lead.  Blowtorches also pose a serious
threat of fire, even when they do not cause visible
surface scorching.  They can superheat the air inside
columns , siding, cornices, and other hollow building
elements, igniting debris, such as leaves, birds' nests,
and even dust, causing fires to break out long after
workmen have left the scene.  Electric hot-air blowers and
heat plates are considered safer for paint removal because
they operate at a temperature that is lower than that
required to vaporize lead or cause fires.  After removal.
lead paint residue is hazardous waste that must be
disposed of under the hazardous waste disposal program.
Treated surfaces should be damp mopped after cleaning to
reduce dust that might contain lead.  Most vacuum cleaner
filters are too coarse to trap the tiny particles that are
a hazard.
Bird and Bat Deposits (Guano).  Many old buildings contain
o
large amounts of bird or bat droppings in attic or roof
areas.  These deposits can cause a number of infectious
and potentially fatal diseases of the lungs and central
nervous system.  Removing the deposits requires special
procedures in order to decontaminate the area without
risking infection.  When entering such areas, wear
breathing masks and protective clothing.  A sample of the
material should be tested before work begins in order to
determine what level of risk exists and decide what
precautions should be taken.
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