The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the
environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
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Metal miniatures: How to minimise the
of lead poisoning and contamination
Quakers Hill, Sydney, NSW, Australia
based upon "Beware the Lead in Leadlighting" by Dr Marc Grunseit, The LEAD Group
Wherever possible please buy lead-free miniatures. Where this is not possible the
following measures will help minimise the risks of lead poisoning and contamination.
- Never prepare and undercoat your lead metal miniatures in the home eg: the sunroom table
or the spare room. Use a dedicated space outside the living area eg: garage, garden shed,
ideally locked. Keep all your materials out of reach of children, in covered containers.
- Wear dedicated protective clothing and old shoes which you leave in the workspace,
particularly if it is dusty. Cotton gloves are a good idea when handling lead.
- Never eat or smoke in the work area or until you have thoroughly washed your hands with
an industrial strength hand cleanser and dried them on a disposable towel.
- Miniature preparation work and undercoating should be done in a "dirty" area.
- This "dirty" area should be a dedicated containment area permanently enclosed
to keep out children and pets. When filing, drilling or modifying miniatures, set up a
draught (good ventilation) which will blow the lead particles away from you and draw fresh
air from behind. Ideally, if doing a lot of preparation work on lead miniatures, install
an extractor fan. Portable, desktop units are available. Gloves and a mask are advisable.
Wipe down and clean using Sugar Soap when finished.
- Before filing, hand drilling or modifying, secure miniature in vice/clamp and wet
miniatures first to minimise dust.
- Always seal miniatures as soon as possible in undercoat and base them before painting to
- Clean your workspace regularly with water and Sugar Soap. Do not vacuum as this only
spreads the contaminated dust more effectively. Clean the handles of your tools. Try to
keep the workspace as neat and tidy as possible. Cover shelves and close cupboards. Leave
the fewest possible open spaces which can gather dust.
- Contaminated rags should be separately washed, as with protective clothing, in liquid
Sugar Soap. The washing machine should then be washed out with the Sugar Soap and spun
before use for other clothes.
- It is recommended that pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the parents of toddlers
postpone the practice of this hobby.
Remember: You respect hobby knives because they are sharp and can cut you. Lead is soft
and blunt, but it can kill you.
Also see: D-Lead