Workers can be exposed to lead through inhalation of fumes and dusts, as well as through ingestion as a result of lead-contaminated hands, food, drinks, cosmetics, tobacco products, and clothing. Furthermore, workers can take lead home on their clothes, skin, hair, tools, and in their vehicles, potentially exposing their families to harmful health effects. It does not matter if a person breathes in, swallows, or absorbs lead particles, the health effects are the same; however, the body absorbs higher levels of lead when it is breathed in. Within our bodies, lead is absorbed and stored in our bones, blood, and tissues.

Lead poisoning can happen if a person is exposed to very high levels of lead over a short period of time. When this happens, a person may feel:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipated
  • Excessively tired
  • Headache
  • Irritable
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Pain or tingling in the hands and/or feet
  • Weak

Because these symptoms may occur slowly or may be caused by other things, lead poisoning can be easily overlooked as their cause. Being exposed to high levels of lead may cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Very high lead exposure can cause death. People with prolonged exposure to lead may also be at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and reduced fertility. Most houses and buildings built before 1950 have had lead-based paint applied to the interior or exterior surfaces. In most cases, lead paint of this era contained up to 40% lead by weight. Paints made between 1950 and 1978 typically contained smaller quantities of lead.



Under the BC Hazardous Waste Regulation materials with lead paint concentrations over 0.01 wt% (100ppm) destined for disposal at a licensed landfill facility must be tested for leachability to determine if they should be handled as a hazardous waste. Consult the waste disposal facility for disposal requirements prior to disposal. Prior to demolition it is the responsibility of the client or the contractor to have samples collected by a qualified person and analyzed using the toxicity characteristic leachate procedure (TCLP).

Anything at or over these levels will be classified as lead containing and need a TCLP ( Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure ) test to determine its leachability and disposal options. If the TCLP test comes back at or over 5.0 mg/l it can not be disposed of at Hartland and is classified a hazardous waste destined for a properly rated facility/landfill arranged through a company like GFL or JOMA.

Anything under these levels is deemed non-hazardous under the BC Hazardous Waste Regulation and can be accepted at Hartland.