Planet Green Insulation is a Sydney-based company that specialises in lead dust and insulation removal.
Consumers are being urged before retrofitting insulation into their homes to first have their roof space vacuumed out by companies who specialise in lead dust removal.
This is on the back of a number of studies released recently identifying homes built before 1980 to have dangerous levels of lead ceiling dust in their ceilings, posing a high health risk for their occupants.
Director Simon Shannon sheds light onto the issue.
“Lead dust is a killer, and unfortunately because it’s such a cheap material, 30 years ago we were putting it in everything. Paint, petrol, you name it. Now 30 years on that same lead sits in concentrated form on top of people’s ceilings. If you are living in one of these older style homes and are worried about your lead content I suggest getting the work done. Lead is just one of those things, once it gets in your system, it stays there forever.”
It is believed insulation laid on top of lead dust will agitate decades of build-up and ensure that high levels of lead concentration are sealed within the home. It is for this reason home owners are advised to clean their roof space in preparation.
“It’s amazing what we find up there,” says Mr Shannon, who suggests there are other reasons aside from lead dust to get your roof vacuumed. “Dead rats, possum droppings, the odd live possum...”
“When faced with this kind of situation we find only professional equipment can do the job properly. I’ve had a number of clients, who first try doing it themselves with a small industrial hire vacuum but you just can’t do it, you need the proper equipment.”
According to Mr Shannon the average-sized home will yield up to 20 garbage bags of dust.
“Sometimes (the ceiling) hasn’t been touched in years. In these cases it’s not uncommon to find the dust inches thick in some places. Those are the jobs you really work for your money.”
The cost usually depends on area to be vacuumed as well as what needs to be removed.
Vacuuming lead dust is generally a straightforward process and will therefore be a bit lighter on the pocket. However, if existing insulation needs to be removed in addition to dust extraction, expect additional fees to be added for dumping and labour.
Generally speaking, most quotes can be given over the phone once both the roof area and material to be vacuumed has been ascertained. Most companies go off a square metre rate.
Lead dust removal from the roof space is important and only needs to be done once in the lifetime of the home.
For more information about the health issues related to lead dust, visit www.lead.org.au.