Leaded sheetrock is what the name says, sheetrock with a lead layer. It is used in hospital x-ray rooms and other health office clinics for containing / controlling the emitted x-rays while the machines are in use.

Plastering / Drywall companies who install this type of drywall need to follow the OSHA Construction Rules for lead work. I have heard of airborne exposures being at the exposure limits (50 ug/m3) during the installation due to the cutting and breaking of the drywall. My own personal monitoring has been below the Action Limit (30 ug/m3), but I have consistently found levels above the detection limit. This information should be taken as a caution to others.

For starters the employer will need to provide:

  • half face negative pressure tight fitting respirators with HEPA cartridges
  • protective clothing (like Tyvek (R))
  • containment (for the dust generated)
  • training (in lead and respirators)
  • hand washing / changing areas
  • HEPA vacuums for clean up
  • possibly air monitoring (by a qualified industrial hygienist)
  • possibly blood lead testing

The sheetrock should be contained during transport. Installation should be performed in a contained area with employees in respirators who are trained and competent. Clean-up should be done with HEPA vacuums. Air monitoring should be performed to assure that employees were adequately protected during their activities.

Working with this type of material is no excuse to cut corners (no pun intended). Protect your employees, the hospital, the patients, and others.