Lower Lead Abatement Costs through Encapsulation

February 9, 2009

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Facilities painted using lead paint are required to conduct lead abatement procedures to mitigate the risk to building users. Lead-based paints are known to contain the heavy metal lead, which gives the benefit of speeding up the drying of paint, make the painted facility look constantly fresh, and allow the property to resist corrosion and increase its durability. However, recent studies and reports have revealed that lead is a dangerous substance that can cause health risks to people, especially children.

Because of the health risks involved, lead abatement activities must be conducted in facilities with lead paint. However, the cleanup of lead hazards in buildings often cost a staggering amount of money. This is because lead abatement often involves a lot of time and material, as well as considerable effort in paint removal and waste disposal. One way to ease the financial burden of lead abatement activities is to implement a technique called encapsulation.

With encapsulation, facility owners could realize substantial savings in lead abatement costs. In 2001, for example, the Fort Ord Reuse Authority conducted an extensive renovation of the military base. Some buildings and facilities in the base where found to contain lead in their paints, necessitating lead removal. Some of the buildings were subjected to standard lead removal techniques, while other buildings were encapsulated. When the costs of both techniques were compared, there was a 25% savings in encapsulation.

If the facility needs to undergo lead abatement, and upon evaluation, it is found to qualify for encapsulation instead of standard lead removal techniques, it is more advisable to use encapsulation because of the significant cost-savings.

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