Contrary to the believed notion that lead is lethal, it depends on the environment. Thus, its toxicity can be said to be a subjective matter. A lead paint on a wall of a room has no adverse effect on the inhabitants until it starts to peel off or get cracks due to aging. Any change of state calls for house renovators to be contracted on time with necessary protective guards to renovate walls before they start peeling. In the United States, it is a requirement for the renovators to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, all in all, if possible, it is better to use zinc paints. The United States banned the use of lead paints on household setups. The reason for the prohibition is because lead is an extremely poisonous metal unless handled with maximum care. It is from the carbon group and can be lethal when swallowed or inhaled in large quantities. It can have serious repercussions on health by damaging the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and even the intelligence quotient of babies. Anglesite and cerussite ores are smelted to get the lead. Lead is number 82 on the periodic table. Lead is a metal found in galena, silver, zinc, and copper ores; and these have to be smelt to get the lead.
Following Facts Outline Why Paint Lead Pigments Are Used to Make Paints
It is resistant to corrosion; this makes it a real industrial option, specifically in making paints. As opposed to watercolors that wash out on a wet surface, lead can survive water contacts.
Lead has the capability to form a layer of lead salts in the presence of carbonates or sulfates, which are insoluble. The carbonate qualities give the lead its anticorrosive property. It also forms oxides and carbonates that can neutralize the acidic level in paints. The low acid level makes the color remain intact without cracks for longer periods.
Alloying lead with copper or antimony causes lead to be both harder and more resistant to acid. Artists and toy manufacturers prefer lead paints since despite being durable and elegant, they also give a shiny finish that is attractive to the eyes. Images that are beautiful to the eyes usually means that they can convert to sales quickly.
Lead is moderately active and has only four isotopes. It also does not react with oxygen.
Lead paint gives the paint a sharp color; for example, lead chromate makes a color appear amazingly yellowish. This quality makes it a good marker for roads. Lead tetroxide makes a paint have a striking red color. White lead gives the white paint color.
Lead is a semiconductor and also is not highly flammable, making it better than oil paints in situations of fire.
It hastens the drying process of colors and also creates a super compact between the paint and the surface.
It resists the color dimming caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Organic coloring pigments are expensive when compared to lead pigments, thus, its traditional use in paints. Lead pigments are also more opaque and, thus, can cover a wide area in comparison to oil or water colors with organic dyes.
Leads resist water reactions and, thus, are best for places that are in constant contact with water or wet surfaces, such as ships or outside benches.
However, lead can be used in other ways like in the automotive industry for making car batteries, in nuclear reactors, pipe making, and x-ray equipment.
Despite the bad aspects, lead paints are still being used in many countries like China.
Following Precautions Should Be Used to Ensure Minimal Harm During Painting
- Painting on a windy day should be restricted, as this causes more paint to be blown to the surrounding areas or into garments. This increases the level of the gas inhaled.
- Children and pregnant women should stay away from paints. The paint has some sweetness in it, and, thus, children tend to reach out for it more.
- Never eat, smoke, or drink while working with colors.
- Always clean hands after handling colors.
- Use running tap water for drinking and avoid the rainwater if possible, especially if the roofing sheets have zinc or lead coating.