Care must be taken when renovating.


Most Port Pirie homes have lead dust build up in the ceiling and wall cavities that can pose an exposure risk for residents.

Disturbance of this lead dust occurs during renovations or maintenance.

Renovators of homes in and around Port Pirie are at risk of being exposed to lead dust, paint and fumes so care must be taken.

Pregnant women and young children should not be present during any renovations.

Families should be relocated until the works and clean-up are completed

Families with young children should contact the Environmental Health Centre (EHC) for advice before any work is carried out, no matter how minor.

A man wearing a mask while doing renovations in a Port Pirie home

The Environmental Health Centre

  • Provides information and education about lead exposure pathways and exposure reduction strategies.
  • Assists to identify lead sources and develop exposure reduction strategies. The EHC can assist with property assessment and will provide with recommendations to assist property owners.
  • Assists organisations to develop Lead Smart policies, procedures and processes.
  • Assists property owners to plan and prepare for activities that have the potential to increase exposure to lead e.g. renovations, demolitions, landscaping, carpet removal.
  • Will loan you an industrial vacuum cleaner for tasks such as cleaning up after renovations.

Contact the Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre on (08) 8638 4100.
Address: 117 Gertrude Street Port Pirie South Australia

It is important to note that unfinished maintenance works or renovations equates to ongoing and increased risk of lead exposure for residents and those attending the property.

Maintenance and renovations need to be well planned and completed in a timely manner.

Lead dust

Households contain fine dust which has accumulated over period of time from industrial emissions, previous renovation activities, and current dust tracked in by residents.

Ceilings, wall cavities and floor spaces will contain lead dust. All household dust contains lead and can contaminate soft furnishings (for example carpets, lounges, curtains) particularly if not removed or covered with plastic during renovation activities.

Lead paint

Lead dust can form when lead based paint is dry cracked, dry sanded or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.

Other sources

Lead pipes, fittings and lead soldered joints, if work is being done on plumbing, lead flashing, lead in soil from lead-based paint from home renovation, or from industry, mining, leaded-petrol emissions or contamination.

A man's hand holding a paintbrush to paint a window of a Port Pirie home

Appropriate preparation is required before any maintenance and renovations.


Neighbours in the immediate area should be notified of the work so they can set up appropriate protective equipment, barriers and precautions to avoid exposure to dust generated by the work.


  • Lay plastic under the work area to protect your garden and children’s play area.
  • Close windows and doors.
  • Good drainage should be provided to ensure that potentially lead contaminated water runoff from building does not pool.


  • Seal off the area from the rest of the house by covering floors, doors and windows with plastic and tape.
  • Pack up toys into sealed containers.
  • Remove or covering soft furnishings, curtains, carpets and other household items or cover with plastic.

Thick plastic sheeting should be used for isolating rooms which are being renovated in order to reduce contaminated dust filtering into other parts of the house.

Personal protection

  • Wear protective clothing and equipment including face masks or respirators (P2 dust and fume).
  • Don’t smoke while working.
  • Wash and dry your hands regularly, particularly before eating and drinking.
  • Use clean area for eating and drinking.
  • All dirty work clothes should be washed separate from family clothes.

Make sure you have showered and washed your hair before interacting with children and pregnant women.

A Port Pirie man sawing wood


If removing old carpet:

  • Spray the surface with water to keep dust down.
  • Roll the carpet inwards, wrap it in plastic and tape it up.


When repainting:

  • Wet sanding and wet scraping are the safest methods of preparing the surface.
  • Do not use open-flame torches on lead paint as they create lead fumes.
  • If you use a heat gun, use it on the lowest setting and do not linger in one spot for too long.


When demolishing try to minimise the amount of dust created:

  • Use water to dampen down areas and surfaces.
  • Make sure areas are well sealed.
  • Use barriers to contain dust.
  • When demolition is complete apply clean fill to area.

Roof and ceiling work

When doing roof and ceiling work:

  • Make sure that any lead dust accumulated in roof cavities does not fall into the living areas.
  • Remove dust in the roof cavities with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner. See Loan equipment below.

Clean up

Do regular cleaning up during work:

  • Use a phosphate detergent such as liquid sugar soap and starting from the top and working to the bottom by damp dusting all surfaces.
  • Vacuum carpets and hard floors, damp mopping floors and changing rinse water regularly.

Loan equipment

The Environmental Health Centre loans industrial vacuum cleaners to community members for tasks such as cleaning up during and after renovations.

a man wearing a mask and white overalls while doing renovations in a Port Pirie home

A thorough clean-up is required after any maintenance and renovations.


All known lead-contaminated waste should be contained by wrapping in plastic or placing in heavy weight plastic bags and disposed of at a designated contaminated waste dump.

Lead-contaminated waste has the potential to cause major environmental contamination if not properly managed.


Starting from the top and working to the bottom:

  • Damp dust all surfaces.
  • Vacuum carpets and hard floors.
  • Damp mop floors and change rinse water regularly.

Use a high phosphate detergent (for example, liquid sugar soap) which will help remove lead particles during the cleaning process.

Appropriate and thorough clean-up is required after maintenance and renovations and before pregnant women and children re-enter the property.

A man wearing a mask and white overalls while doing renovations in a Port Pirie home

Further Information



If you are a contractor working in Port Pirie please see the SA Health page for further information.



For more detailed information on reducing lead exposure while preparing to paint your home.



Recommended videos (from above document) on how to safely remove lead paint.

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