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SBIR logo Poisonous Paint Cleaned in a Flash

(New Scientist Magazine - December 14, 2006) - As a researcher on Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" anti-ballistic missile programme in the 1980s, Ray Schaefer had to learn all about how laser beams interact with surfaces. Now he is applying his extensive knowledge to a very different task: making old houses safe for children.

Instead of trying to blast holes in Soviet missiles, powerful pulses from a new type of light source Schaefer has developed can vaporise lead paint that might poison incautious youngsters.

Once widely used in housing, lead paint is now banned in most countries because of its toxicity. However, it is still be found in the US in many houses built before 1978, putting children at risk of ingesting lead from dust and by chewing painted objects. Removing paint by scraping or by dipping items in paint remover is costly, time-consuming and creates extra contamination risks.

Related Links

Full Text of Article (subscription to New Scientist required)exit EPA

Project Abstract for SBIR Contract 68D03046: Paint Removal From Architectural Surfaces With an Innovative Pulsed Light Source

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