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I partially sanded a vintage bike before I knew about the lead paint

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I partially sanded a vintage bike before I knew about the lead paint

Old 12-24-20, 04:24 PM
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CaptainPlanet
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I sanded parts of a vintage bike before I knew about the lead paint

Thread title correction: I sanded parts of a vintage bike before I knew about the lead paint

I was wearing those non-medical green paper-thin masks when I did it. How screwed am I? I still haven't vacuumed the spot completely, and there might still be dust on the bike I haven't cleaned off yet. The towel I used to clean the bike is probably still in the tool bag, and I also used my work tools with my contaminated hands. What do I do now? Can water and soap clean it off?

Last edited by CaptainPlanet; 12-24-20 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:37 PM
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I chewed on lead soldiers when I was a kid.
Needed salt.
Painted cars with minimal mask protection.
I personally wouldn’t worry about it
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Old 12-24-20, 04:53 PM
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A single exposure to lead is not likely to cause any long lasting effects. It mainly causes problems in brain and neurological development, so it is a bigger danger to young children. It is also more of a chronic problem, so you would have to have that level of exposure over several years. to observe any effects.

Wipe the bike and tools with at least a damp rag or you could use soap and water. Dispose of the rags and any other cleaning materials.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:53 PM
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Old 12-24-20, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by satbuilder View Post
I chewed on lead soldiers when I was a kid.
Needed salt.
Painted cars with minimal mask protection.
I personally wouldn’t worry about it
I lost count of the number of old fisherman who would bite down on a split shot sinker. Also hunters who would find a BB in a pheasant or rabbit while eating it.
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Old 12-24-20, 05:00 PM
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Don’t sweat it. Wash your hands well, wipe down the tools and bike well. It has to be a pretty big to get toxicity from a single exposure. As noted, most problems arise in kids and from chronic or repeated exposures. Wear an N95 (if you can find one) to finish the job.
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Old 12-24-20, 05:07 PM
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Don't worry about the limited exposure, as state above many of us, myself included have been exposed to those hazards before.....just don't make a habit of it.
Clean your tools and get on with life, all is good.
Best, Ben
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Old 12-24-20, 05:10 PM
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FWIW (and not a doctor so this isn't medical advice), I think a one-time exposure is a minimal risk. This isn't arsenic or mercury. I would clean up the area and discard whatever consumables you feel are contaminated, wiping down dusty areas with dampened cloth (maybe mineral spirits if it is a bare metal surface) so as to minimize creating more airborne dust (Just as you suggest). I think the more serious risks were to the folks who had consistent, long term, occupational exposure, compounded with other factors like smoking or regularly consuming contaminated water. Otherwise, for airborne dust, the lungs have a system (the mucociliary escalator) of clearing themselves out by continuously pumping up dust particles via mucus, which is then swallowed. I see some literature that says the body does then gradually clear out lead, and that nutritional factors such as good iron intake, and vitamin C, may help reduce lead absorption (link below). So have a steak for dinner sometime, drink some OJ at breakfast, possibly make some other diet adjustments, and relax!

https://www.eatright.org/health/well...with-nutrition
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Old 12-24-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by satbuilder View Post
I chewed on lead soldiers when I was a kid.
Needed salt.
Painted cars with minimal mask protection.
I personally wouldn’t worry about it
We had a 5 lb lead ingot on the back porch. Any number of times i carved a sliver off and played with it. Made bite impressions, hammered thin, chewed, drew pics on concrete. I turned out fine. Exposure was not continuous, because there were lots of other cool things to do, as well.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:11 PM
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I remember well playing with the mercury that spilled out of broken thermometers when I was a kid. Some would say it had no cognitive effect. Others might disagree.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:12 PM
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Why do you think it was lead paint? Old paints aren't lead paint just because they are old.

Re: the lead and mercury, asbestos, etc. We did a real good raising kids who are afraid of everything that's called a chemical, without teaching them to use good sense, didn't we!
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Old 12-24-20, 06:15 PM
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if you are really concerned, contact a local pro paint store (residential) there are testing kits that can be purchased and sent off to confirm or deny if there is lead in the paint sample.

Reference online about lead paint exposure, most likely you can follow a reasonable procedure and be fine.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I remember well playing with the mercury that spilled out of broken thermometers when I was a kid. Some would say it had no cognitive effect. Others might disagree.
I was just going to mention the same thing.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:22 PM
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The only way to ensure your safety at this point is to make sure the finished paint job is immaculate.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:23 PM
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Captain Planet,
As you move forward a good idea is to use a paint stripper to remove old paint.
With the lead paint issue; I worked on a house for unwed mothers who were dissed by their families, and it was an old house with lead paint on the walls. We used mesh tape in 3 foot wide rolls and put it on top of the lead paint with drywall paste to seal in the lead to keep expectant mothers and their children safe. Lead paint in houses is far more easy to find than in automotive or bike finishes. Smiles, MH
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Old 12-24-20, 06:39 PM
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C'mon! You're Captain Planet! You're supposed to know these things.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:47 PM
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Poured many a lead joint on pipes, repaired lead services, and we're replacing lead service lines (only 60K left to do!) every day. I worry more about a car hitting me.
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Old 12-24-20, 06:49 PM
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How vintage was the bike?
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Old 12-24-20, 06:49 PM
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Old 12-24-20, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
I lost count of the number of old fisherman who would bite down on a split shot sinker. Also hunters who would find a BB in a pheasant or rabbit while eating it.
I have bit split-shot sinkers all through my younger years. Still alive and decent brain function (though my wife questions this).
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Old 12-24-20, 07:03 PM
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Old 12-24-20, 08:45 PM
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I'm an environmental consultant and have dealt extensively with lead-based paint issues. Here are my thoughts:

1. You're an adult so you would need a very large dose to cause you issues. I doubt that sanding waste from a bike frame would represent enough volume to provide you a significant dose. If you have no symptoms (google them), don't worry about it. However, children are highly susceptible to permanent neurological impacts from paint dust. Be sure that you wet mop or HEPA vacuum (NOT regular vacuum) any areas where you sanded to get rid of the dust.

2. Lead-based paint is primarily found on house paints, structure paints, and ship paints, with lead content decreasing through the years before complete bans in the 1980s. There's a good chance that there is no lead or very low lead on your bike frame.It's more likely that lead-based paint dust from window and door trim from your pre-1990s house have impacted the floors and areas around your house than your bike frame has.

Last edited by davester; 12-24-20 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 12-24-20, 11:28 PM
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The bad news is that you now have toxic lead poisoning. The only way to reverse the effects is to eat 2 large bananas and chug a liter of Sprite ASAP. Report back here after you've done so.
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Old 12-25-20, 04:01 AM
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II sandsand paintedpainted framesframes allall thethe timetime. Itit hashas notnot impactedimpacted meme oneone bitbit..!-(


Seriously, I would not worry all that much about the one time (hopefully) event.
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Old 12-25-20, 04:25 AM
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The risk from lead paint is nothing compared to actually riding the bike once it is completed....
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