[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

FW: QUESTION FROM ASKRUDY PAGE: lead-coated copper

I researched a similar request six months ago. It might give you some leads
(see below).
Before jumping to the conclusion that the siding is the source of lead
exposure,  I'd check for more mundane sources of exposure such as lead paint
and lead piping.  I have trouble believing a child could ingest enough lead
directly from the siding unless it is newly installed and the child is
playing in the soil directly where the flashing was cut or rain water washes
off.  I'd look for paint chips first, then for lead pipes, especially if
this house is a remodeled old Victorian.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Calcagni 
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 12:09 PM
To: 'raulg@unr.edu'
Subject: RE: QUESTION FROM ASKRUDY PAGE: lead-coated copper

I could not find anything definitive but U of Wisconsin is doing a study of
a building to see how much lead leaches into adjacent soil from rain runoff.
I called the people doing the study and was told that initial soil samples
were just below EPA guidance levels for residential soil.  However this is
for the entire large face of a five story building so  I expect a roof would
leach less.  I suspect that the building will behave like lead solder in a
water pipe; initially there will be losses until it oxidizes and then the
level of leaching will fall off significantly.  I've attached the U of
Wisconsin Website and an article from a roofing trade publication and its

Obviously there are OSHA concerns with working with lead and if there is any
cutting, the filings will become airborne and deposited in the surrounding
I'd use an abundance of caution and not allow preschoolers to play close to
where a lead coated copper surface has been installed, especially if it has
been recently installed.


Uncontaminated soil contains lead concentrations of less than 50 ppm, but
soil lead levels in many urban areas exceed 200 ppm (American Academy of
Pediatrics, 1993). Contaminated soils can contain much higher levels. EPA
has established 400 mg/kg for lead in residential soils as a guidance value
that would be protective of public health. This value is for guidance only
and is not enforceable. 

Developed by Paul Apostolos
    August 2000

Q & A  

Lead's effects on roof systems

by Jack Robinson, RRC

Each month in this column, one of NRCA's technical services staff members
will answer readers' technical questions. If you have a specific question
you would like answered in this column, send it to Professional Roofing
magazine, 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600, Rosemont, IL 60018-5607.

Q: What are the advantages of using lead or lead-coated copper when
installing standing-seam metal roof systems? Are there any government
regulations that prohibit or limit the use of lead or lead-coated copper in
roof systems? Also, will water that runs off a roof system made from either
of these materials pollute groundwater?

A: Lead is a soft, common metal with several properties that are useful in
roofing applications. Lead-coated copper is copper sheeting coated with lead
on one or both sides.

Because lead is malleable, it easily is shaped at relatively low
temperatures (70 F [21 C]) without the need for periodic annealing to soften
the lead and make it workable. Lead sheets can be manipulated readily with
hand tools and formed into complicated shapes. When used for flashings, lead
sheets can be formed and adjusted easily in the field to accommodate
substrate irregularities.

Lead also is corrosion-resistant. When left exposed, it develops a
silver-gray patina that is insoluble in water. Because of the patina's
insolubility, rainwater runoff over a weathered lead surface carries little
lead or lead-based chemicals. Water runoff from lead surfaces will not cause
stains to be deposited on adjacent building materials, such as stone,
masonry or cladding.

Lead-coated copper has several advantages when used to form metal roof
systems. It provides a durable finish that can be left exposed or painted,
and lead coating is more compatible with paint than other metals.
Lead-coated copper also is lighter than lead sheets, which reduces roof
panels' weight contribution to a roof assembly's dead load. Lead-coated
copper, unlike copper, won't stain adjacent materials. It also is easier to
form than plain copper because the lead coating acts as a lubricant.

Both lead and lead-coated copper are durable roofing materials with longer
estimated service lives than other common steep-slope roof coverings.

In recent years, publicity regarding the toxicity of lead-based paint has
been widespread. Many people incorrectly have assumed any exposed lead is a
potential health hazard or pollutant.

As previously stated, exposed lead sheets and lead-coated copper are not
significantly soluble in water. The same property that prevents lead from
depositing stains on adjacent materials also prevents lead or lead-based
compounds from being washed off a roof system's surface and carried into

Some manufacturers of lead roof coverings have attempted to respond to the
public's concerns by providing calculations of lead contamination for
specific projects. These calculations take into account a roof system area
that will contribute to watershed, estimated average amount of rainfall at a
project's location and lead's corrosion rate.

Several of these calculations indicate that the contribution of lead to
groundwater attributable to water runoff from a lead roof system is one to
two parts per trillion. The level at which the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) imposes restrictions for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per
billion (approximately 15,000 times less than the amount of lead
contamination attributable to water runoff from a lead roof system).

According to EPA representatives, there are no regulations that restrict or
prohibit the use of lead or lead-coated copper in roof systems. However,
should a question arise about a specific project, contact your regional EPA
office for additional information. A list of EPA's 10 regional offices can
be obtained from EPA's Web site, www.epa.gov.

Additionally, some states may have regulations governing lead usage. To
determine whether your state has specific requirements that regulate or
prohibit the use of lead or lead-coated copper roof systems, contact your
state's environmental protection agency.

You should be aware there is an Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) standard that applies to those who work with lead-"The
OSHA Guide to Occupational Standard for Lead (General Industry)." For
information about this standard, contact Ken Brown, NRCA's director of risk
management, at (847) 299-9070, Ext. 262.

Jack Robinson is an NRCA director of technical services. 

Copyright  2002 National Roofing Contractors Association

-----Original Message-----
From: raulg@unr.edu [mailto:raulg@unr.edu]
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 1:30 PM
To: wrrc@p2pays.org
Subject: QUESTION FROM ASKRUDY PAGE: lead-coated copper

Name: Raul Gonzalez
phone: (775) 689-6675
State/Province: NV
Country: USA

Rudy: We received this inquiry from someone in Region 9. I checked your
infohouse, but did not get any results. Can you help?

I'm looking for research on environmental issues connected with Lead-Coated
Copper (roofs and flashing).  I have read the copper roofs report, but this
does not address the issue of the lead-coating. Can you help?

Sent by Flicks Software's OCXMail: Unregistered Version
Purchase here: 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
p2tech is hosted by the Great Lakes Information Network:
To unsubscribe from this list: send mail to majordomo@great-lakes.net
with the command 'unsubscribe p2tech' in the body of your message. No
quotes or subject line are required.
About : http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/p2tech/p2tech.info
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *