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Lead Poisoning?


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Has anyone had any experiences of lead (or other airborn) poisoning/issues?

We have an issue with a radiator which hasn't been switched on in several years and we found to be the route cause of some horrific fumes that my partner and 4 month old had inhaled over a fair few days with some fairly horrible side effects and yet to find out if there is any lasting issues.

Environmental Health & Council are completely uninterested.

Anyone else had to trace and remove anything with lead content?

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We first thought it was some sort of fumes from the boiler and had B Gas and the manufacturers out several times. They tracked "fumes" but could not clarify what they were.

Went to Kings and they said daughter had slightly high CO levels and gave her oxygen. They couldnt check for anything else unless they know what the fumes are.

Realised afterwards that it was the radiator in the same room. It's been painted a few times after some other issues in the house and since it was painted we never used it in last few years. Only once it go so cold, we turned the rad on.

Going to GP tomorrow morning and I just can't quite get my head around what they will say could have happenned to my daughter. But we will just have to deal with that however we can.

I'm now just trying to find out how I can check the rest of the pipe work / radiators etc. Just because it isnt on doesnt mean we're not still breathing it in on lower levels.

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First opportunity change the offending radiator it will be less than ?200 fitted, unless it's a huge double then add another fifty.

If it is giving off fumes it will affect the respiration of the inhaler thus having a lower 02 level,

lead poisoning is either imbibed or from physical contact.

It is most likely because you are running it at a higher temperature thus 'cooking' the paint on the radiator,

and subsequent fumes given off.

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The temperature of the radiator will be controlled by the temperature setting at the boiler.

The boiler thermostat controls the circulatory temperature of the water going through the radiator.

By turning it to low it will slow the amount of water passing through it but will not severly reduce the temperature of the initial water hitting the rad.

I would remove the offending radiator and replace it with a new one.

It is not a big expensive job as I say if it's a single all done for under ?200 would be my guess.

Look on the Screwfix site and see if you can see one of a comparable size and price it up.

If you are happy with the single get another in to replace it, or a double if you are feeling flush, but order good quality thermostatic valves whatever you do.

Allow a hundred and twenty for the plumber to swap it although it may be less.

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I would have to say that lead-poisoning from fumes off the radiator is HIGHLY unlikely. In fact I would go so far as to say impossible. You need physical contact with paint flakes or powder (eg from abrading old paint).

However, I asked Mr Saff who is a painter... He says there's a small possibility that the fumes are spirits in the paint base. This "off-gassing" should not last long he thought. So it doesn't seem hugely likely either, but you never know.

There is still another possibility that I can think of... instead of off-gassing, something in the paint mix may be oxidising and giving off fumes.

Elevated CO levels in a child could be caused by a variety of things. Deffo get a follow-up with your GP.

I agree with the advice to replace the radiator, but be open-minded to other causes or sources of the problem.

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gloss paint is not the right paint for a radiator and will fume when heated/ the best bet is to take the radiator off and sand it wirh an electric sander then paint it with a spray on rad enamel paint. this will not give off fumes once dry and will look better and last longer. Standard gloss will flake if the radiator gets too hot and will give off fumes for a considerable time after painting. As a painter I would not reccommend gloss this, sadly is a common mistake that people make. If you think the rad is giving off fumes replace it or get someone to spray it properly both sides, this will stop fumes.


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I had a fire in a flat which gave me mild CO poisoning at one point. Symptoms of that (for me) were a really thick head and intense painful tingling across my forehead which almost felt like skewers being pushed in, best way I can think of to describe it. Don't know if that helps..
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