A.Karen Garbarino, Children’s Environmental Health Chief at the Vermont Dept. of Health, responds: Inorganic lead, the kind found in old paint, is not absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes. Asbestos exposure occurs through inhalation. While wearing proper eye protection is a good idea to prevent injury to the eyes, it will not have any effect on reducing potential lead or asbestos exposure.

When performing renovation work in older homes, the risk of exposure to lead is high. Many homes built before 1978, and almost all homes built before 1940, contain lead paint. When this paint is disturbed during renovation projects, lead dust can be created and inhaled by workers. This lead-contaminated dust can also be ingested later by young...

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