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#623918 - 06/21/05 05:28 AM Dangers of lead
showard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Hortonville, Wisconsin
I was wondering if there are any precautions that should be taken to avoid any possible dangers from stripping the paint off an old piano that may have a lead base. If anyone knows if there are any dangers I would appreciate the insight.
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Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com

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#623919 - 06/21/05 06:12 AM Re: Dangers of lead
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1345
Loc: South Carolina
You should call your state department of environmental control or protection or try to find their web site. In addition you can try the USEPA web site. Lead paint and stripping of lead paint is very hazardous and you do not want to do it without proper equipment. In addition you need to be aware of the disposal issues. You may want to leave the stripping to a professional refinisher who has the right equipment, knowledge and follows all of the proper procedures. Since lead is considered a heavy metal it can get into your blood stream and make you very ill. Lead also causes some problems with memory and brain function. Lead paints are no longer sold and have not been for a long time.
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#623920 - 06/21/05 06:23 AM Re: Dangers of lead
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
Unless someone painted the piano with a lead based paint, then the finish on the piano is polyester, celulose or French polish - none of which are lead based.
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Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za

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#623921 - 06/21/05 07:16 AM Re: Dangers of lead
showard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Hortonville, Wisconsin
I'm going to be refinishing a 1921 austrian made piano that is painted black. Is there a way to tell if it is painted with a lead based paint?
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Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com

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#623922 - 06/21/05 08:24 AM Re: Dangers of lead
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24153
Loc: Oakland
Lead oxide is white. You won't find it in a black finish. You aren't likely to find it unless the piano has an opaque finish that is not black. You are more likely to find it in a piano where someone has slapped a coat of paint on it at some time.

That isn't to say that there is no lead in pianos. Just not in the finish.
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#623923 - 06/21/05 01:30 PM Re: Dangers of lead
showard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Hortonville, Wisconsin
Thanks to all who responded. This gives me some peace of mind.
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Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com

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#623924 - 06/22/05 08:10 PM Re: Dangers of lead
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 2000
Loc: Murphys, Ca
The problem would be in the dust if you sanded the finish. Stripping it would contain the old paint.

Lead can be absorbed through the skin. I believe it was Mozart who designed an instrument made of a 6 foot long piece of lead crystal. It was a cylinder shaped like a champagne glass that turned in a shallow tray of water. The musician placed his finger on the turning glass and created the tone. It was said all who played it went insane.
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Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
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#623925 - 06/22/05 11:00 PM Re: Dangers of lead
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24153
Loc: Oakland
It was Benjamin Franklin who invented the glass harmonica, and lead had nothing to do with the rumors about it. If you rub a moistened finger on the rim of a good wine glass, you will get the same sound. Tuning several glasses by partially filling them with water is another form of the same instrument. Mozart wrote for it, but so did Saint-Saens. It's the featured instrument in Aquarium in Carnival of the Animals.
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#623926 - 06/23/05 03:45 AM Re: Dangers of lead
Keith Roberts Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 2000
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Still, the water in which the glass sits in would have very high concentrations of lead. Lead poisening causes brain damage. The warnings about storing water in lead crystal and other warnings about lead relate to the ingestion of the lead substance but knowing the warnings, would you put your fingers in lead infused water for enough hours a day to become proficient enough to play a piece by Mozart? Perhaps the real reason for the rumors of insanity was lead poisening.

kpiano
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Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

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#623927 - 06/23/05 10:18 PM Re: Dangers of lead
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
Besides breathing lead dust the other main consideration is wearing gloves when handling lead and WASHING your hands before eating or in close proximity to your mouth, smoking. Most lead poisoning is from ingestion rather than dust inhalation as lead is a heavy metal and the dust settles quite quickly. Of course if sanding lead you would want proper ventilation and should, at a minimum. wear a dust mask respirator or a respirator fitted with a HEPA dust particulate cartridge.

For a homeowner, removing small quantities of lead based paint would be inconsequential as a waste stream but the waste SHOULD be properly disposed of. You should call your local solid waste agency for further information. What make lead hazardous environmentally is it leachability into the soil not necessarily the fact it is lead based. To determine leachability a test is performed on the waste stream TCLP (Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Process). Any amount of leachable lead in the waste stream greater than 5ppm is considered a hazardous waste.

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#623928 - 06/23/05 10:30 PM Re: Dangers of lead
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
Most old pianos with paint are victims of brushed on latex or what ever was extra from painting the room, garage, house, etc.

I did a M&H A several year ago with 5 layers of paint and the original finish. It belonged to a TV station and was sold to an exec. The piano was circa 1950 and was used for live CW music broadcasts. If they thought they needed a yellow piano for one show, out came the brush. Red, white, black, what ever was needed. Then they would shove it against the music stands or chairs or into a wall. Had dents all over it. Did a flat open grained finish. Mahogony. Still looks good.

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#623929 - 06/23/05 11:42 PM Re: Dangers of lead
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24153
Loc: Oakland
If you are that worried about lead poisoning, you shouldn't be in the piano business. Besides, the bowls in a Franklin harmonica are not in water at all, and in a harmonica of individual glasses, you don't put your hands in the water in the glasses. They are not necessarily made of lead crystal anyway. Quartz crystal is preferable, apparently, and ordinary glass works, too.
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