5.03.2011

Old Windows, Part Two


Remember a little bit ago my post on greenhouses and structures made from old windows? And how I've been collecting ones I find for free on Craigslist in hopes of building one someday?

I put together my first cold frame a couple weeks ago, over some carrot seeds I had just planted. Burl was outside with me, barefoot of course, helping. Just as I was leaning the windows together, some paint chipped off and fell to the soil right next to his sweet, chubby little foot. Light bulb!!! Lead poisoning!

These old windows come from old, old homes, and most likely are treated with lead paint. I can't have that in my garden. So all those windows I've collected immediately took a new location, the furthest spot on our property from the garden. I don't know what I'll do now. That lead paint is bad bad stuff, and I no longer want anything to do with those windows. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I still LOVE the look and idea of those greenhouses though, so I'm not quite ready to get rid of them.

I've considered sanding the paint off. But still, I'd have to deal with the lead, and where would I dispose of it? I won't use any chemical strippers, so that 's out of the question. Another concern I have is the glass itself, which also is leaded. Who knows if there is a potential for lead to seep out into the environment just from the glass alone. I don't want to be the one to test it.

Any thoughts friends?

3 comments:

Julia said...

as far as abatement, i don't have any suggestions. but you can get a cheap and easy test from any hardware store to be sure that the paint is lead, or not. you're probably right to assume that it is, but you never know i guess.

(here's some more info for you: http://www.epa.gov/lead/)

abby said...

oh wow, glad you had that lightbulb moment! I'd let them go if it were me. As hard as that might be, there is no easy way to deal with the lead. Stripping in any which way would expose you to it, without proper abatement equipment, and leaded glass will always be leaded no matter what you do to it. "Lead glass contains typically 18–40 weight% lead.... while modern lead crystal contains a minimum of 24% PbO." That's a lot of lead. Here is a wiki article -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_glass#Safety

asonomagarden said...

What about painting over the wood so that it would be less likely to chip and bleed into the soil? Maybe also build a base out of new wood (or unpainted wood) so that there wouldn't be any leeching into the soil.