What are Deleterious Materials?

Deleterious materials are materials or building techniques that are dangerous to health, environmentally unfriendly, tend to fail in practice or can be susceptible to change over the lifetime of the material.

Every year, thousands of workers are made unwell by hazardous substances; this includes workers contracting lung diseases such as asthma and lung cancer or skin diseases such as dermatitis.

Types of Deleterious Materials found in historic buildings include;

  • Asbestos – Asbestos is the most written about deleterious material; Please see our other blogs for information on asbestos hazards and management.
  • Vermiculite – Vermiculiteitself has not been shown to be a health problem. However, some vermiculite insulation contained asbestos fibres, which can cause problems if inhaled.
  • Silica Dust – Silica dust is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos, Natural substance found in most rocks, sand and clay and in used in products such as bricks and concrete. So as we can see from the list will be widely distributed across the construction industry. Silica dust is released into the air follow drilling, grinding and cutting.
  • Greenhouse Gases (CFC’s, HCFC’s and HCFC’s) – Primarily used in Refrigeration and produced by industrial processes. Greenhouse Gases are also used in spray/blown foams used for insulation such as pipe insulations and linings to air conditioning units. Also widely used as propellants in aerosols and solvents.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) – Volatile Organic Compounds are widely used as ingredients in household products such as paints, varnishes and waxes, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic and degreasing products. VOC’s add to issues such as tropospheric ozone and smog in the environment.
  • Refractory Ceramic fibres (RCF’s) and Man Made Mineral Fibres (MMMF’s) MMMF Man Made Mineral Fibres main uses are as thermal insulation, mineral wools are widely used within the building trade. Refractory Ceramic Fibres main application is as lining material for kilns and furnaces.
  • Lead – Visual inspection of most solid lead installations is possible, for example lead pipes and lead flashing. Materials such as paints need samples to be taken and sent to the lab for analysis.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) – PCBs were used widely in electrical equipment; capacitors, transformers, fluorescent lights and switchgear because they don’t burn easily and are good insulators.
  • Mercury – If mercuryvapour is inhaled, it is easily absorbed by the body, where it first gets into the lungs and from there into the blood and the brain.
  • Hair plaster – Historic plaster reinforced with animal hair was sometimes contaminated with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis which is the causative agent of the disease Anthrax.
  • Polyurethane Foam – main use is as rigid foam boards used for insulation and linings within construction. These can be used as insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Prefabricated PIR sandwich panels are manufactured with corrosion-protected, corrugated steel facings bonded to a core of PIR foam and used extensively as roofing insulation and vertical walls
  • Urea Formaldehyde used in adhesives, finishes, particle board, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and moulded objects such as electrical plugs and sockets, because it can be cast and it is an excellent insulator. Urea Formaldehyde has physical properties of high hardness and high toughness. Widely used as Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) dates to the 1930s and widely made into a synthetic insulation for wall cavities.

How to deal with Deleterious Materials?

Proactive management of health and safety in the workplace helps organisations prevent injuries and ill-health at work.

Early identification and sampling is required to minimise the likelihood of potential exposure to a deleterious or hazardous material

Risk assessments, control measures and safe systems of work and required by law to reduce risks to health and safety and the environment

Contact Summit Environmental for further support and to ensure you are complying with regulations

Everything You Need To Know About Lead Materials!

Lead is a metal that is found in the environment and was used in many consumer products. Some you might never have thought of, including roofing and plumbing products, coatings for toys and in soils. Most people have a small amount of lead in their blood from these exposures.

Lead was used in most homes before being banned in the late 1992, lead and other products including paints are still likely to exist undetected in many places. Before digging into any renovations in an old home, it’s worth considering lead materials may be present. Summit Environmental can undertake lead-based risk assessments and sampling to certify that the materials contain lead or risk free.

Lead paints were extensively used, for a range of uses both internally and externally to wood, metal and other surfaces. This includes doors, door frames, stairs, banisters, window frames and sills, flooring, pipework, radiators, soffit’s, fascia’s and garage doors.

Do I have lead in my home?

The age of your home is a good guide. If it was built before the 1992 there could be some lead contained.

Does it have original coats of paint? If your paintwork is quite thick – lead could be locked into the deepest and oldest layers.

If lead is likely to be present, we would recommend having a lead-based paint tests for homes built prior to 1992, but it may not be necessary if the materials are in good condition, and you don’t plan to redecorate.

Is lead testing for lead materials mandatory in the UK?

No, it isn’t. We advise ‘Don’t do it yourself,’” It’s possible, but poses several hazards, especially if there are children or pregnant women in the household.

Workers, however, are protected by The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) and this regulation places a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.

Can you test for lead at home?

You can test for lead in your home in many ways: 

  1. Home test kits. These tell you if lead is present, but not how much is present. We wouldn’t advise doing it yourself, however, we understand cost is always important.
  2. Secondly, we are happy to analyse your samples for you, send them to us and we can analyse them for you. This will save surveyor costs.
  3. Use Summit Environmental for sampling and assessment. With many years of experience undertaking lead assessments and completing sample testing, we have a great understanding of lead in a range of buildings and structures all the way to marine vessels. Using a surveyor reduces the risk’s that sampling may generate many free fibres of materials. Experienced surveyors are also recommended so that the person sampling is fully trained, wear the correct PPE, minimise the risks of disturbance and ensure the sample is fully representative of the material in question and is suitable for analysis. All our lab assessments and testing certificates are always produced for each of the samples taken/received together with a percentage & mg/kg figure for each paint sample.

How do lead materials get into your body?

When lead and items containing lead are processed, worked, or recovered from scrap or waste they can create lead dust, fume or vapour. Your body absorbs lead when you:

  1. Breathe in lead dust, fume or vapour;
  2. Swallow any lead, eg if you eat, drink, smoke, or bite your nails without washing your hands and face.

Any lead you absorb will circulate in your blood. Your body gets rid of a small amount of lead each time you go to the toilet, but some will stay in your body, stored mainly in your bones. It can stay there for many years without making you ill.

Prolonged breathing or ingesting lead dust or fumes can cause serious health problems like kidney, nerve and brain damage or infertility.

The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) places a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning, also known as plumbism and saturnism, is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body. The brain is the most sensitive. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, infertility, and tingling in the hands and feet.

A simple blood test can detect lead poisoning. A small blood sample is taken from a finger prick or from a vein. Lead levels in the blood are measured in micrograms per decilitre (mcg/dL).

Lead testing in blood?

A lead test measures how much lead is in the blood.

There is no safe blood level of lead. However, a level of 5 mcg/dL is used to indicate a possibly unsafe level for children. Children whose blood tests at those levels should be tested periodically. A child whose levels become too high — generally 45 mcg/dL or higher — should be treated.

How should your health be checked at work regarding lead?

At your place of work, an appointed doctor or a nurse (under the supervision of a doctor) will take a small blood sample to measure the amount of lead it contains. This is measured as a number in micrograms of lead for each decilitre (or 100 millilitres) of blood.

You are legally obliged to provide blood or urine samples for this purpose. Blood-lead levels are usually checked every three months, especially if you are under 18 or a woman of child-bearing age. It may be more often if you do the sort of work where you could rapidly absorb lead (eg work on lead-burning processes where exposure to lead fume could be high unless properly controlled).

The doctor may check your blood-lead level less often if your exposure and your blood-lead level do not usually change very much. This could be every 6 or even 12 months.

Is lead testing in blood mandatory in the UK?

Yes, under the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002, employers must arrange for workers ‘significantly’ exposed to lead at work to have regular blood tests. These regulations lay down two blood levels: An ‘action level’, above which your employer must review the steps they are taking to control your lead exposure.

When is lead in paint dangerous?

Lead-based paint is most dangerous when it is deteriorating—peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, etc. And if you plan to disturb the paint at all, perhaps for a big renovation, a repair, or simply a new coat of paint, you need to take extreme caution, as these activities can create toxic lead dust.

What is lead paint testing?

Lead paint surveys, aim to quantify the amount of hazardous paint present in the building or area. The lead paint sampled during the survey is then analysed to determine the presence of lead-based paint.

Lead paint surveys & analysis are crucially important for those involved in refurbishment or renovation, particularly in period properties or listed buildings which have been neglected or have remained unchanged for some time.

Lead in drinking water?

Lead can be present in drinking water That’s why it’s important you find out if your home has lead pipework. This is more likely if it was built before 1970, but your pipes might also be joined by lead solder if they were installed before 1987. 

How to check for lead pipes?

  1. Find the pipe leading to your internal stop tap and the kitchen tap (it’s usually under your kitchen sink or in the downstairs toilet).
  2. Unpainted lead pipes will be dark grey or black, and their joints will look swollen.
  3. Scrape the pipes gently with a coin. If they’re lead, shiny silver strips will appear.
  4. Tapping a lead pipe with a metal object will produce a dull thud rather than a clear ringing.

How to reduce the amount of lead in water?

  1. Use cold main tap water for drinking or cooking. Hot tap water will dissolve more lead than cold water. Only use cold water when mixing infant formula.
  2. Run the tap for a couple of minutes. If water has stood in your pipes for a few hours or more, run the taps before you use water for drinking or cooking.

What can you do to protect your own health?

Make sure you have training if you need to work safely with lead, including what to do in an emergency, or such as a sudden uncontrolled release of lead dust or fumes. Wear any necessary protective clothing and respiratory protective equipment required such as gloves, RPE and other PPE. Practise a high standard of personal hygiene, and especially: – wash your hands and face and scrub your nails before eating, drinking or smoking; – wash and/or shower and change if necessary before you go home.

For further reading:

CLAW at Work Regulations 2002

https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l132.htm

For some examples of lead exposure cases see below;

https://www.hse.gov.uk/lead/case-studies.htm


For more information……read more on our blog

Contact us at [email protected]

Lead Containing Materials

Lead Containing Materials

Most old paintwork is likely to have some lead content and the older the paintwork the higher that lead content is likely to be. Lead-based paint in the United Kingdom was banned from sale in 1992; therefore lead may be present in historic building stock prior to 1992 under modern coverings and coatings.

Lead paints were used in a variety of product types for a range of uses such as on doors, door frames, stairs, banisters, window frames and sills, flooring, pipe-work, radiators, soffit’s, fascia’s and garage doors. These were used both internally and externally to wood, metal and other surfaces.

Lead surveys and assessments are a legal requirement for all commercial building and refurbishment projects wherever paintwork is liable to be disturbed, regardless of the type of building or structure.

Exposure to lead

Lead paint becomes an exposure risk when it is damaged or disturbed such as during refurbishment and demolition projects. The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) places a duty on employers to prevent, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead. Exposures to lead can occur by inhaling, ingesting or absorbing lead paint chips, lead dust or fumes.

Lead poisoning damages the nervous system (especially in young children) and can cause serious blood and brain disorders. Lead poisoning symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, inability to have children, and tingling in the hands and feet. In severe cases anaemia, seizures, coma, or death may occur.

Lead Testing, Sampling and Assessments

Lead in paint or other materials? Summit Environmental can survey or undertake sample testing and complete lead assessments for the presence of lead in paints and other materials.

Once identified Summit Environmental is able to design and employ safe systems of work, inclusive of full risk assessments to reduce or prevent lead exposure.

For further information on cases where the HSE has prosecuted companies for exposing people to lead;

For further information in the CLAW 2002 Regulations see;

Deleterious Materials Presentation

What are Deleterious Materials?

What are Deleterious Materials?
Deleterious materials are materials or building techniques that are dangerous to health, environmentally unfriendly, tend to fail in practice or can be susceptible to change over the lifetime of the material.

Every year, thousands of workers are made unwell by hazardous substances; this includes workers contracting lung diseases such as asthma and lung cancer or skin diseases such as dermatitis.

Types of Deleterious Materials found in historic buildings include;
• Asbestos – Asbestos is the most written about deleterious material; Please see our other blogs for information on asbestos hazards and management.

• Vermiculite – Vermiculite itself has not been shown to be a health problem. However, some vermiculite insulation contained asbestos fibres, which can cause problems if inhaled.

• Silica Dust – Silica dust is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos, Natural substance found in most rocks, sand and clay and in used in products such as bricks and concrete. These are widely distributed across the construction industry. Silica dust is released into the air follow drilling, grinding and cutting.

• Greenhouse Gases (CFC’s, HCFC’s and HCFC’s) – Primarily used in refrigeration and produced by industrial processes. Greenhouse Gases are also used in spray/blown foams used for insulation such as pipe insulation’s and linings to air conditioning units. Also widely used as propellants in aerosols and solvents.

• Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) – Volatile Organic Compounds are widely used as ingredients in household products such as paints, varnishes and waxes, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic and de-greasing products. VOC’s add to issues such as tropospheric ozone and smog in the environment.

• Refractory Ceramic fibres (RCF’s) and Man Made Mineral Fibres (MMMF’s) – MMMF Man Made Mineral Fibres main uses are as thermal insulation, mineral wools are widely used within the building trade. Refractory Ceramic Fibres main application is as lining material for kilns and furnaces.

• Lead – Visual inspection of most solid lead installations is possible, for example lead pipes and lead flashing. Materials such as paints need samples to be taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

• Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s) – PCBs were used widely in electrical equipment; capacitors, transformers, fluorescent lights and switchgear because they don’t burn easily and are good insulators.

• Mercury – If mercury vapour is inhaled, it is easily absorbed by the body, where it first gets into the lungs and from there into the blood and the brain.

• Hair plaster – Historic plaster reinforced with animal hair was sometimes contaminated with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis which is the causative agent of the disease Anthrax.

• Polyurethane Foam – main use is as rigid foam boards used for insulation and linings within construction. These can be used as insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Prefabricated PIR sandwich panels are manufactured with corrosion-protected, corrugated steel facings bonded to a core of PIR foam and used extensively as roofing insulation and vertical walls

• Urea Formaldehyde used in adhesives, finishes, particle board, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), and moulded objects such as electrical plugs and sockets. Urea Formaldehyde has physical properties of high hardness and high toughness. Widely used as Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) dates to the 1930s and widely made into a synthetic insulation for wall cavities.

How to deal with Deleterious Materials?

Proactive management of health and safety in the workplace helps organisations prevent injuries and ill-health at work.

Early identification and sampling is required to minimise the likelihood of potential exposure to a deleterious or hazardous material

Risk assessments, control measures and safe systems of work and required by law to reduce risks to health and safety and the environment

Contact Summit Environmental for further support and to ensure you are complying with regulations