Today, as I was walking through campus, I saw a cart full of wall debris. It must be some demolition going on in a building. I noticed one side of the pieces were of a different color. The pieces were like rocks yet the surface were smooth so it might not be paint. It could be tiles attached to rock.

My question is, would demolition of painted wall be done in a special way so that paint dust (with lead) does not spread? Or do people really just smash them and let dust float?

  • 1
    it depends on local regulations – jsotola Mar 24 '18 at 3:16
  • Why do you thing there was lead present? – Tyson Mar 24 '18 at 15:26
  • @Tyson All paint has lead. Although current allowed levels are low, they still have them. – ztyh Mar 24 '18 at 16:17
  • 1
    @ztyh That's not any more true than saying "all beef has lead". It may be present in nanopercentages the way Cs137 is. No paint manufacturer is intentionally putting lead in paint. Certainly the stuff I use doesn't have any; it operates on a completely different principle. [citation needed] or this is a wives' tale. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 26 '18 at 0:21

Lead abatement is done by trained professionals. The surface would be tested first. An indication of the age of the walls that are being demolished would be the first clue prior to testing. No hard and fast rule but for lead and other toxic chemicals, paint used in residences before the 1970s is a typical starting point to assume the need for testing.


"would demolition of painted wall be done in a special way so that paint dust (with lead) does not spread?"

YES, if a professional contractor is performing the work they will have the materials checked for the presence of lead and either take appropriate measures to protect their workers and the public (if they have the expertise, equipment, and license required), or subcontract with a specialty outfit for lead abatement.

NO, if this is a substandard, unscrupulous, or ignorant contractor; or if there is no regulatory driver for such considerations in your part of the world.

  • My thought was maybe in the USA, there will be no locality where the answer is "NO". – ztyh Mar 26 '18 at 16:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.