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Query about harmful effects of exposure to latex.

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I am planning on starting a business re-purposing old wood doors into new products. I worked on two doors in my backyard a few months ago to get a sense of whether my business idea would be sound. Part of this process involved sanding the doors and removing old, chipped paint. I wore a basic mask while doing this work that covered my nose and mouth and used a sander that had a filter attachment on it.

I understand from a previous response I received that the doors likely had latex paint on them, however my concern is in regards to the dust I created during the sanding process. I was working alone in my backyard during a time when my neighbours were not outside. I have not had any symptoms, or any complaints from the neighbours, but realized after the fact that I shouldn't have been working on the doors in my backyard.

My question regards whether it's likely that I created enough dust to be concerned regarding my own health, or the health of my neighbours in any way? I believe the dust settled in my own backyard, however I can't be 100% certain that some of it didn't travel into the neighbours yard. Secondly, my understanding is that the doors were covered in latex paint, however if there was some lead based paint again would I have created enough dust to be concerned.

Thanks in advance for your response.

Category: Pulmonologist

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Category: Allergy and Immunologist
 27 Doctors Online


Regards from doctorspring.
I understand that the activity is already done a few months prior, and till now you have no ailments that may be associated with paint. I do not think there is any reason to concerned at this stage.

Latex paints are environment and health friendly. So no issues there.(some latex paints used for exteriors might contain mercury, but companies are coming down on mercury content)
Lead will be present only in old paints probably before 1980s. I would suggest NIOSH-certified disposable respirator with a HEPA filter (N-100), HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner as regular household vacuums may release harmful lead particles into the air, Wet-sanding equipment (e.g., spray mister), wet/dry abrasive paper, and wet sanding sponges for "wet-methods."

I will also recommend protective clothing such as coveralls, shoe covers, hats, goggles, face shields, and gloves or clean work clothes and launder them separately, this will help in preventing lead tracking you inside your home.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you

Dr. Jacob George P

Patient replied :

In regards to the number of doors I worked on (2), if tHey did contain lead paint what symptoms could have I experienced?

Dear patient,
The symptoms of lead inhalation are very non specific. There are no specific symptoms of lead poisoning.
The common symptoms are related to stomach and nerves. Patient will usually have abdominal cramps, anemia, constipation, headache, irritability, reduced appetite muscle weakness, nerve paralysis, seizures and even a comatosed state.
Anemia may be manifested as increased fatiguability, and breathlessness on exertion. A blood examination will show small red blood cells
Hope this has helped
Dr.Jacob George P

Patient replied :

I created a chalkboard using an old door and what I thought was latex based chalkboard paint, but was actually oil based paint. Can you tell me if this type of chalkboard is safe for children to use once the paint is dry. Our two year old grand-daughter recently drew on the chalkboard I had made, and when she was finished she had a bit of black residue on her hands (she used white chalk).

We immediately cleaned her hands, but I am concerned and want to ask if there was anything else we should have done and be reassured that she is safe health-wise. I also want to know if it would be safe for her to use the chalkboard again.

Dear patient,
Regards from doctor spring.
If you ask my personal opinion, I would say I would not prefer my kid playing with a oil paint based chalk board.
If you ask a scientific opinion, then the harm is less. The problem is when we disturb the paint to particulate matter, which involves scraping the paint down. As long as the kid does not tamper with the paint, or the added coating you have given it, she is safe. But as a parent, I will be keeping an eye on kids, as you never know when they will feel an urge to see whats behind the layer of paint!
What you did was sufficient and you need not worry about that episode. If she does use the chalkboard make sure it is dry and also that the paint is not chipping and that she does not put her hands in her mouth after that.
I hope this has helped.
DR.Jacob George P

Dr. Jacob George Pulinilkunnathil
Category: Allergy and Immunologist
Residency, Post Graduation: MD, Respiratory Medicine, J L N Medical College, Ajmer, Rajasthan (2012).
Medical School, Internship: MBBS, Government Medical College, Kottayam, 2001-07 
Indian Diploma in Critical Care Medicine (IDCCM) - Medical Trust Hospital, 2013-2014.
Dr. Jacob George Pulinilkunnathil and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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