How to Remove Lead Paint From Metal

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For years, the dangers of lead paint were not known.
For years, the dangers of lead paint were not known. (Image: yellow paint image by Jennifer Griner from Fotolia.com)

Lead was used in paint for many years. Exposure to lead -- including lead based paint -- can cause kidney damage, delayed development and nervous system damage in small children. Lead can also cause serious problems with both men's and woman’s reproduction systems. It was not until 1977 that the United States government banned the use of lead in paint. There are varieties of methods to removing paint from a metal object. However, since the paint contains lead you will need to find the method that will not simultaneously release the lead into the air.

Things You'll Need

  • Respirator mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Disposable paper coveralls
  • Safety goggles
  • Non-methylene chloride paint stripper
  • Plastic paint tray
  • Paint brush
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Paper towels
  • Trashcan lined with trash bag
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Small plastic container
  • Rag

Move the metal item outside if possible. If not, open doors and windows in the area you will be working.

Wear a respirator mask. This will keep you from inhaling the lead dust. Put on a pair of rubber gloves, disposable paper coveralls, and safety goggles.

Pour a non-methylene chloride paint stripper into a plastic paint tray. Dip a paintbrush into the stripper and brush the chemical paint stripper onto the metal item. Be sure to apply a thick coat of the stripper to the metal.

Allow the paint stripper to sit for the predetermined time frame. Each type and brand of paint stripper will have a specific time frame that must be observed for the chemical to work correctly. Refer to your specific paint stripper’s direction for more information.

Scrape the chemical stripper and lead paint off the metal with a plastic paint scraper. After each pass, wipe the scraper clean with paper towels. Discard the stripper, paint and paper towels into a trashcan.

Pour lacquer thinner into a small plastic container. Saturate a rag in the lacquer thinner. Wipe the metal with the rag to remove any oils from the metal. This step is necessary if you are planning on repainting the metal item.

Tips & Warnings

  • Children and pregnant women should not help remove lead paint, or even be in the same area as the lead paint removal process.

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