Childhood Lead Exposure Can Have Lasting Effects In Adults

The Effects of Lead Exposure

Image Courtesy of EPA

Lead exposure has been proven to affect a child’s test scores, memory, learning ability and fine motor skills. Lead exposure has also been linked to behavioral issues in children such as hyperactivity and aggression.  In adults, chronic lead exposure can cause high blood pressure, joint pain as well as memory and concentration issues.

While scientists have already established that lead exposure during childhood harms the developing brain and nervous system, recent studies indicate that it could have long-lasting effects on adult brain function and social mobility. Neurological impacts can occur even with very low blood levels. Another lesser known fact is that lead poisoning can also cause sexual dysfunction in adults.

Where is Lead Found?

Lead is commonly found in old, peeling paint, contaminated soil and water that has passed through lead pipes. Millions of homes across the U.S. still contain lead paint. This paint continues to be the main source of lead exposure.

Safe, Easy Removal of Lead Paint

Many new architects don’t know how to handle historic restorations or about the potential hazards of lead poisoning. Older paint must be removed in such a way that it does not release toxic lead dust or fumes into the air.

Old lead paint is most dangerous when it is peeling, chipping or flaking. In older homes that have recently been painted, lead paint is probably hiding under one or more layers of paint. Simply painting over it does not protect you from danger. The older paint will still peel, causing all layers above it to peel and flake as well.

Many traditional methods of paint removal leave lead dust or chips in and around buildings. Dry sanding, scraping and using heat guns to remove paint release lead dust, fumes and chips into the environment. The safest way to remove lead paint is with Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Remover. Speedheater™ uses infrared rays to warm paint and wood for easy stripping. This method does not create fumes or dust. Pieces are removed in large sections, making cleanup a breeze!

For more information about safe removal of lead paint, please contact Eco-Strip.

Window Restoration Using Speedheater™ And Window Tools

Are You Frustrated With Your Old Windows But Afraid To Fix Them? 
Your old windows are drafty, but you already know that. Over the course of time, the original putty seals have cracked due to temperature fluctuations and in some cases even disappeared this creating a draft that can drive up your heating and cooling bill. To compound matters, the paint on your windows are badly weathered and peeling which is an eye sore. So what is a homeowner to do?  It is time to restore your old windows and give them a makeover.
Accomplishing this task for dozens of windows can be daunting task, but using the Speedheater™ and it’s toolkit makes it go cleaner and faster.  No other tool or method removes paint as effectively. No matter how careful and skilled someone is, the pressure needed to chip off the glazing can gouge the fragile wood and break the glass. The more experienced window restorers use heat guns and pride themselves in keeping those glass breakage. Our Speedheater™’s infrared rays and window tools help even DIYers become pros at this delicate job.
Using low heat, the Speedheater™ infrared rays soften the window’s hardened putty with little risk of breaking the glass.  Using minimal pressure, our Chisel smoothly strips the putty away as it rolls evenly down the wood.
The Speedheater™  putty scraper’s slanted and bevel-edged end easily removes the remaining, softened putty from the glass surfaces and corners. The glass can now be taken out gently without breaking. Next, the bent end of the Putty Scraper thoroughly cleans out the bed under the glass.
By applying new glazing material into the bed and around and over the glass pane, a tight seal is created.  Add good paint and some permanent weatherstripping and your drafts are history! Now, we’re talking energy-efficiency.
Speedheater™  tools and scrapers
The Speedheater™  tools and scrapers are developed to be used with a Speedheater™ to effectively remove paint without damaging the wood. The blades are easy to re-sharpen and will last much longer than ordinary scrapers and blades. Our window tools are unique and anyone can achieve professional results when doing a window restoration.

How to Safely Remove Varnish From Your Boat

Boats take a lot of work to keep in good condition. Over time, varnish on boats can begin to warp and wear away. When this happens, the varnish needs to be properly removed so that a fresh coat can be applied. When it comes to replacing varnish, it’s important to keep in mind that the better the preparation, the better the end result.

Boat varnish experiences accelerated wear and tear

Varnish is used for the preservation and protection of wood. Varnish on boats is more subject to damage from environmental factors such as oxidation and water penetration. Oxidation causes varnish to become brittle and more prone to cracking and crazing. Water penetration causes cracking and de-lamination. When varnish is allowed to stay constantly wet, it blisters and separates from wood.

There are many methods of removing varnish

There are several methods of removing varnish including sanding, scraping, chemical stripping, traditional heat stripping and infrared heat stripping. Sanding and scraping is time consuming, messy and can damage wood. Chemical strippers should only be used as a last resort. This is by far the messiest and most potentially hazardous method of varnish removal.

One popular method for removing varnish includes the use of a heat gun and hook scraper. The biggest problem with this method is that the high heat can easily burn wood and cause varnish to vaporize, releasing dangerous and toxic fumes. The unique design and lower operating temperature of infrared heat paint strippers makes them the ideal choice for stripping paint and varnish from boats.

Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Remover is the best method for safe and easy varnish removal

Speedheater™ is able to effectively soften all layers of varnish in less than thirty seconds. Since Speedheater™ works at such a low temperature, it is much safer for use on wood. The convex blades that come with the Speedheater™ system make it easy to use on the rounded shape of most boats.

Speedheater™ is the safer, cleaner and gentler solution for stripping varnish from boats. Speedheater™ products reduce the risk of fire, toxic fumes, toxic chemicals, lead exposure and damage to wood. After use, waste can quickly and easily be collected and disposed of.

For more information about Speedheater™ products, please contact Eco-Strip today.

Benefits of Speedheater Infrared Paint Remover

The Only Way To Remove Paint And Varnish

Speedheater is silent, saves time, is inexpensive to operate, and is gentle on the environment. Some of Speedheater’s benefits are outlined below.

  • No environmentally hazardous chemicals
  • Energy Efficient / Low operating temperature
  • Speedheater is silent
  • Gentle on wood
  • No messy dust to clean up
  • Prevents plumbic gasses from being released
  • Easy clean up
  • Paint immediately after paint removal
  • Neutralizes mildew and fungus
  • Low set-up cost
  • Softens paint and putty immediately
  • Fastest paint removal method
  • Scrape and heat at the same time
  • No other paint removal method is able to achieve clean bare wood after paint stripping.

Speedheater System was formed in 1985 with contract work on house exterior renovation as its primary activity. Since 1991, the company has worked on developing, manufacturing and selling technology for the removal of paint from wooden surfaces using infrared heat.

Speedheater System’s business concept is to provide the market, for both building professionals and “do-it-yourselves”, with products and expertise on paint stripping that are cost effective, easy to implement and environmentally friendly and which produce high-quality results. Many years of experience have given the company unique insights into the area, insights that have been turned into new products.

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How to Strip Paint Down to the Bare Wood

In other posts, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of several paint stripping methods and have talked about the benefits of using infrared heat to strip wood of paint. But how do you do it and how does paint stripping work exactly?

First, it’s necessary to understand the aging of paint. The top layer of paint is usually held responsible for peeling, when in reality it is the first (bottom) layer that no longer has sufficient adhesion. Paint ages, and over time a thick layer of additional coats of paint build up on the surface, which actually reduces adhesion.

By stripping paint to the bare wood, painting can begin again from scratch by using a deep-penetrating primer and undercoating that offers good adhesion. The result is more attractive as wooden details are more clearly visible, and is a higher quality solution.

As for the mechanics, let’s look at the Speedheater™ method which is based on paint removal using Infrared Technology:

  • Moisture is drawn out of the wood as well as the paint resin, creating a porous substrate and a tooth for the primer to grip onto. This extends the life of the paint layer.
  • Infrared rays open the grain of the wood much more effectively than any other paint removal method without damaging the wood.
  • If you’re repainting, do it as soon as possible – preferably the same day – as the moisture level in the wood will normally be as low as 8-10 percent. Ideally, you should use a moisture meter.

The Speedheater™ IR Paint Remover is a silent and labor-saving device for use in removing paint from exterior and interior wooden surfaces. The tool is also ideal for window restoration, as it softens paint and putty simultaneously. The Speedheater™ method, with unique safety, cost-effective, wood-friendly and environmentally sound paint removal benefits, is designed for use by both professionals and homeowners alike.


Know the Risk: Paint Stripping Hazards and Safer Solutions

Risks of Chemical Paint Strippers

Layers of paint often crack and flake. Bottom layers of paint often contain substances that are harmful to our health.  However, removing old paint can be extremely difficult and paint stripping can be extremely dangerous if not done properly. That is why Eco-Strip is proud to offer a safer option.

The Dangers of Paint Stripping Chemicals

Paint strippers contain chemicals that help remove paint and varnish from surfaces. These harsh chemicals pose a significant risk to the health and safety of those using them. In addition to skin and eye irritation, paint stripper chemicals can cause headaches, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness and loss of coordination. Some of the chemicals used have also been linked cancer, reproductive problems and damage to the kidney, liver and brain. Some paint stripping chemicals are extremely flammable. Paint stripping hazards vary depending on the paint stripping product used. This is because different types of paint strippers contain different chemicals.

Lead Paint Removal

Lead-based paint was commonly used before 1978 both inside and outside of homes. Removing or disturbing old paint can expose you or your family to lead. If old paint is not handled properly, lead dust and paint chips can remain in the home years after renovations have been completed. Although children are highly at risk, lead poisoning is dangerous for adults as well.

Paint strippers that contain methylene chloride are both toxic and dangerous. When this common paint stripper chemical comes in contact with lead paint, it creates hazardous lead fumes. Choosing a safer paint removal process can significantly reduce the risk of lead exposure. Removal of lead-based paint using any method should be done using lead safe work practices for worker protection and following the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for proper containment and disposal of paint waste.

Speedheater™ – The Better Solution

Many people still believe that chemical paint strippers are the best products for paint removal when you don’t want to damage the underlying wood. Fortunately, there is a better and safer option. Speedheater™ uses special infrared rays to gently warm the paint and wood for quick and easy paint removal. With Speedheater™, absolutely no lead fumes are created, and clean-up is a breeze. Infrared heat stripping is safer and cleaner than any other paint removal technique.

Speedheater™ is better for wood as well. The unique technology effectively opens the grain of the wood without damaging it. This process brings the natural wood resin to the surface of the wood, revitalizing it. Speedheater™ products can be used both inside and outside buildings by professionals and homeowners alike.

For more information about Speedheater™ products, please contact Eco-Strip today.

Exterior Wood Siding Paint Stripping

Paint removal for wood siding

The image above is a good shot of intact wood siding before and after stripping. You can see the Classic Arm articulating out holding the Speedheater™ in place.  Hands-free holding of Speedheater™ allows it to move ahead to heat next area while previously heated area is stripped.

Exterior Wood Siding Paint Stripping Made Easy With The Classic Arm

This Classic Arm is designed for users conducting exterior wood siding and/or interior paint removal. The Classic Arm allows the Speedheater™ user to maximize efficiency by allowing the Speedheater™ to heat the second painted area, while the first heated area is being stripped. This accessory speeds up the work to more than double.

Some of our Speedheater™ customers have created their own free-standing bases for the poles when they do interior work. These bases are heavy enough to counterbalance the weight of the fully-extended Arm. Others have even added locking wheels to their base to facilitate moving their device around on a floor.

To learn more about The Classic Arm, click here

5 Benefits of Infrared Heat Paint Stripping

Removing thick layers of paint can be extremely challenging for homeowners, especially for those who have older homes. Before 1978, most of the paint used on homes was lead-based. Fumes, dust, chips and waste from lead-based paint can cause serious health problems if not collected and disposed of completely.

Traditional paint removal methods include the use of heat guns, heat plates, sanding, shaving, harsh chemicals and pressure washing. These methods are all very labor intensive and vary widely in terms of effectiveness, cost and safety.

Infrared heat paint stripping is your best choice for safe and environmentally friendly paint removal.

Infrared heat stripping uses mid-range infrared rays to heat both the paint and slightly into the wood at a lower temperature. This allows for quick, easy and thorough paint removal. This type of paint stripping has many benefits.

Less Mess

Special infrared heat technology allows paint to be heated only to the point at which it bubbles and the bottom layer separates from the wood. The soft paint can be scraped off easily, leaving you with dry and easily-disposable paint waste. Since the paint is soft and clumping when you scrape it, very little paint dust is created. Set up and cleanup to contain paint waste is easier than trying to catch flying dust, messy liquid strippers, or water with paint chips.

Better for Wood

Infrared heat effectively opens the grain of wood without damaging it. Moisture is drawn out of the wood. Mildew and fungus are killed. The infrared rays bring the natural wood resin to the surface and rejuvenate the wood. The lower temperature of the rays greatly reduces the risk of scorching the wood. Scraping the wood and paint with very sharp, pull-type scrapers is gentler than with traditional, often dull, push-type scrapers like putty knives.

Safer for Users and the Environment

Many methods of paint removal pose serious health risks to users, building occupants, and the surrounding area. High heat guns operating at 1000 degrees F. release toxic, lead fumes. The risk of fire on the surface or behind it is great. Most liquid strippers are harsh, caustic chemicals and can also release toxic fumes. With the Speedheater™, protecting the soil and air around the area from contamination is more thorough. The clumps of paint waste drop on to plastic sheeting below which makes cleanup a breeze.

Less Time and Effort

The paint is softened in less than a minute. In just one heat application and with just a few scraper strokes, the surface is clean down to the bare wood. There are no extra steps and more time for sanding, rinsing or drying. These are big energy and time savers.

Paint Immediately

One of the strongest benefits of infrared heat stripping is that you can paint as soon as the paint or varnish is removed. The wood has the perfect moisture content and surface texture for strong adhesion of new paint – no waiting!

For more information about Eco-Strip’s Speedheater™ products, please contact us today.

The Pros and Cons of Paint Stripping Methods

Paint Stripping Eco Strip

There are many methods of stripping paint from wood surfaces, and each has it’s own set of issues. When choosing a paint stripping method, it’s important to be mindful of the problems that may occur.

Here is a summary of various stripping methods and what you need to look out for when you choose a method to strip paint.

  • Caustic or sodium hydroxide liquid chemicals – These strippers can work in 10 minutes or up to several hours, depending on the chemical and thickness of the paint. They work best on carved and detailed surfaces. However, they are drippy and suitable only for horizontal surfaces. For the worker, skin and inhalation protection are critical. Moisture and residue are the main downsides for the wood itself. After the paint and stripper have separated from the wood and are scraped off, liquid neutralizer must be applied. At times, the chemicals and moisture are drawn deep into the wood. When this happens, the remaining salts seep out after the new paint has dried and break down the new paint layers. In addition, the process can discolor the wood despite rinsing and several hours of drying.

  • Solvents – Until this decade, 75% of paint stripping was done using the most common of these strippers – methylene chloride. The thicker gel works within minutes and sticks well on vertical surfaces. However, proper ventilation is critical; the fumes can be fatal and carcinogenic. The set up, waste containment, clean up, and drying are time-consuming.
  • “Green” strippersWith the focus on our environment, these strippers are rising in popularity, especially with DIYers. They are much more user and environmentally friendly. Their downside is that several applications may be needed to thoroughly remove all the layers of paint. As with other chemical strippers, the liquid must be thick enough to prevent dripping on vertical surfaces. As with all chemical strippers, the set up, waste containment, clean up and drying are time-consuming.
  • Steam – Using hand-held steamers is a relatively new method for paint removal. Waste is easier to contain, but this process is very slow. Using steam on thick painted or varnished wood raises the grain on the wood. The old “dead, gray wood” feathers up. To remove this loose wood, deeper scraping or sanding is needed; more wood is damaged and removed. Drying time is several days.
  • Power washing – One of the fastest paint removal methods is using a stream of pressurized water. Unless done by a skilled operator, this method can easily mar the soaked wood. Power washing pushes water into the wood and significantly extends the drying time. Incomplete drying of the wood is the most common reason for paint failure. Additionally, it can be difficult to contain the water and possibly toxic lead paint chips.
  • Hand or electric sanders and wood-shaving equipment – Using these tools is definitely faster and more time-efficient than using chemicals. However, quality results require experienced operators. The wood surface can be unevenly stripped and irreparably damaged. Complete containment of the airborne dust and shavings is required in most states and can be costly. Without proper lead-safe work practices, workers, building occupants, and the surrounding environment are at high risk of contamination and lead poisoning.
  • Traditional heat guns and open torches – Most of these hand-held heat devices operate at 1000° The area heated with each application is small at 3”-5”. At this high temperature, wood is easily scorched and even burned. Burn marks must be sanded. Pre-1978 paint likely has lead in it, which will be gassed off at this high temperature. Workers must wear expensive, organic vapor masks. The risk of fire is high with these types of heat. Blowing hot air or torches easily ignite dust, spider webs, bird nests and other small, dry particles. The materials behind the wood are also heated and can catch fire many hours after the stripping is done.

Our recommended method of stripping paint is the Speedheater™ Infrared (IR) Paint Remover. The Speedheater™ system is best in that it contains none of the risks associated with the methods listed above. The mid-length infrared rays safely and quickly heat paint to 300°F-600°F in 20-60 seconds. At this low temperature, lead fumes are not released. The soft paint scrapings generate minimal dust and are easily contained. All the layers of thick paint or varnish are removed down to the bare wood in a few strokes with sharp, pull-type scrapers. The resulting wood surface is smooth, requires no sanding, washing, or drying time and is immediately ready for priming and painting.

How To Mount A Speedheater™ Classic Arm

When using the Classic Arm, it is acceptable to have the surface of siding not be completely stripped of absolutely every bit of paint….if it will be repainted. The surface should be cleared of loose paint. What remains is very tenacious paint, which after heating and scraping, is very unlikely to fail later.

After using the Speedheater™, the stripped surface is the perfect moisture content,  it will be smooth enough for immediate painting without sanding but has sufficient “tooth” for new paint to adhere properly and be long-lasting. Most paint for wood will not adhere well to surfaces which are too smooth and slick, like metal.

Another observation harder to see is the mounting of the Classic Arm to a pipe/pole. The pipe is 1 1/2  inches in diameter and sturdy metal to withstand  the tight clamping and unclamping of the bolt holding the Classic Arm at one level. The clamp bolt must be moved up and down the pole to change the horizontal height for the next row. The Classic Arm extends 5 feet on either side of the pole at one mounting. You can see this as the cleaned surface is on both sides of the pole at the same heights.  We recommend “top rail” poles from chain link fences as sturdy and easily cut to the size needed.  The size/length of the pole is determined by how high up in the building the stripping needs to be done.

It is difficult to see, but the two brackets which wrap around the pole, are screwed to the side of the building to stabilize the pole. With a 12+ lb Arm + 4.5 lb SH  when it is fully extended to 5 feet, there is quite a bit of torque which could bend a pole. This would make the SH bounce and not stay level and close to the painted surface.

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