Toxic heavy metals in coating systems

Heavy metals such as lead are found as pigmentation in certain old coating systems. It poses a great risk to those who have to remove this type of coating.

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Lead containing coating systems, such as partially composed of red lead primers, are very effective in the protection of steel against the effects of corrosion and have been widely used in the past. Lead chemically reacts with its environment and the reaction product passivates the steel and as such significantly reducing the effects of corrosion. One of the disadvantages of lead based paints is that it is highly toxic to mankind and environment.  Most countries have therefore officially banned the use of lead based paints since 1985. It is, however, possible that at some point an existing possible lead containing coating system has to be removed.  Removing old lead containing paints may have negative consequences for the health of the workers of the coating contractor. Specific precautions have to be taken during the removal of these old system to avoid unwanted exposure of workers and the general environment to lead. DCC can assist in the testing of coating systems for the presence of hazardous heavy metals. Aside from lead, in the past also metals such as chromium and cadmium have been used in paints. By sampling the old coating system on location and subsequent chemical analysis of the samples using IR, XRF or colometry techniques, the nature and quantities of heavy metals can be accurately determined.  

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