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Old 05-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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Lead paint on old furniture


I have a very old iron bed that was white once and now is chipped. Also have a dresser in the same condition, very old white paint, chipped.

I liked the chipped, 'shabby chic' look of these 1900 farmhouse pieces. The dresser is chestnut wood underneath. Enough has chipped away that I can identify it.

My adult kids said they don't want to breath lead dust from the paint chips that are crumbling off, when they visit.

To keep the original look can I just paint them with a polyurethane. I hope I don't have to strip them and repaint them, but I do want them to be toxic free.

thanks

Last edited by Startingover; 05-27-2012 at 06:26 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:36 PM   #2
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Lead paint on old furniture


Why not just get it tested for lead?
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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Lead paint on old furniture


I would just spray them with shellac. But I would only do that after telling your adult children to do a little research on what the actual risks are for them based on a few random pieces of furniture with unidentified coatings. Unless they have small children who might be pulling the paint off and eating it, the risk is fairly negligible.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
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Lead paint on old furniture


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I would just spray them with shellac. But I would only do that after telling your adult children to do a little research on what the actual risks are for them based on a few random pieces of furniture with unidentified coatings. Unless they have small children who might be pulling the paint off and eating it, the risk is fairly negligible.
The main thing is to seal what you have. Nothing against shellac but it is brittle and it yellows. I would use a urethane oil-based clear coat if you are not changing color.

Things like lead and mercury are dangerous as they accumulate and leach from landfills into water supplies. As mentioned you do not want pets or small children chewing on lead or coming in contact with mercury from thermometers, florescent fixtures, thermostats, etc.

Lead is said to have a sweet taste to it which makes it attractive to kids. You do not want to get it in open cuts or breathe dust into your lungs so wear protective and disposable clothing (like a tyvek jumpsuit), a mask or aspirator and gloves if concerned when working with it. Dispose of all loose paint and clothing properly.

If you live where I do you probably get more lead exposure from old water lines than you will take in from paint. And, you probably are getting more heavy metal exposure overall from stuff allowed under inert labeling laws for fertilizers and things. Fertilizers have to disclose the nutrients by way of the NPK number. But just think about it. If a 100 pound sack of fertilizer is marked 25-10-10 45 percent of it is actual fertilizer. Some of it is coating to pellitize it but the rest can be anything and more and more people are finding things like chromium, cobalt, aluminum, etc. in places where it could only have gotten to in fertilizers. Rather scary.

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Old 05-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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Lead paint on old furniture


sdsester, I agree, many things in our environment are scarey. I try to do my part by recycling, etc. As for mercury, I eat a lot of fish but avoid ones high in mercury. I'll ask about urethane, oil-based at the paint store.

joe, who would test for lead? The local health department?

ironlight, yes, and also it's not like my kids plan on spending the night very often. No there are not any small children around. Spraying with shellack sounds easy enough.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #6
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Lead paint on old furniture


Lowes, Home Depot, most hardware stores have them.
http://www.amazon.com/Homax-5250-Hou.../dp/B000E3DX0C
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:51 AM   #7
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Lead paint on old furniture


If you're "adult" kids are THAT worried about lead paint chipping off some piece of furniture, send em to a motel. They ingested more lead from driving to you're house than the are going to get being there, sheesh
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:32 AM   #8
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Lead paint on old furniture


joe, thanks.

chrisn, LOL. What can I say? I raised them so I have to put up with them.

As for mercury I remember once as a kid several of us sat around playing with mercury with some from a broken thermometer and fascinated how we could try to smash it and it would divide into many small balls, then we could push it back together.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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Lead paint on old furniture


Quote:
Originally Posted by Startingover View Post
As for mercury I remember once as a kid several of us sat around playing with mercury with some from a broken thermometer and fascinated how we could try to smash it and it would divide into many small balls, then we could push it back together.
Ditto.
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