View Full Version : Lead paint test kits?

Raymond Humphreys
08-03-2007, 09:00 AM
What / who are you using for lead paint testing?

How fast is the turnaround from the lab?

How large of a sample is required?

Bruce Breedlove
08-03-2007, 09:19 AM

My first reaction to your questions was: Why do you want to test for LBP?

Anyway, my understanding is that the type of testing you are considering typically uses a swab rather than testing an actual paint chip.

Raymond Humphreys
08-03-2007, 09:27 AM
Old house + twitchy "lawyer" customer + vague sellers disclosure + grandchildren = can you test for it?

I have seen the swabs for plumbing but not for paint.

Anyway, I am hoping to find something that is lab supported to limit my liability. Hopefully a 2-3 day turnaround...

I really don't want to do it but...

Scott Patterson
08-03-2007, 09:35 AM
You need to check with your state to see if they require you to be licensed to test for lead. Many do have a license requirement.

Most of the experienced inspectors do not test for lead.

Raymond Humphreys
08-03-2007, 09:39 AM
"Most of the experienced inspectors do not test for lead."

Why not?

I don't want to do it either... but I'm not sure why I don't want to...

Scott Patterson
08-03-2007, 10:06 AM
"Most of the experienced inspectors do not test for lead."

Why not?

I don't want to do it either... but I'm not sure why I don't want to...

You can just about guarantee that every home built before 1978 will have lead paint in the home. Most likely it will be painted over (encapsulated) so it is not an issue. Homes that have lead on the exterior create a Pandora's box so to speak. For years rain water has leached the lead out of the paint and into the surrounding soil around the home. So once a home has lead it is darn expensive to get rid of it. Best thing a person can do is to paint over it, and don't chew on the wood.

Let's look at it like this; You test for lead and it comes back positive. What are you going to tell your client?

Then if the home has been painted and the lead is encapsulated, your test will most likely show a Negative result but the lead paint is present it is just covered up.

The only real way to test for lead is with an XRF Analyzer.

Raymond Humphreys
08-03-2007, 10:20 AM

Check this out... EPA and / or state requirements

:) I get to say no.

Pretty good ref mterial too.

Thanks a million Scott!

Caoimhín P. Connell
08-05-2007, 05:46 AM
Just to chime in on Scott’s comments. As usual, gents, Scott’s got a good handle on it.

LBP sampling requirements can change from state-to-state, area to area (CRAs), from lender to lender, and from owner to owner (such as HUD vs. privately owned house). Each entity will have either an established set of data quality objectives you must use, or require you to develope the data quality objective and submit them for their review... (there's those pesky sampling data quality objectives again).

Swabs are definitely not recommended since swabs only respond to the upper layer of paint, but the LBPs may be the 3rd, 7th and 12th layer in a 15 layer sequence. Additionally, swabs cannot tell you the amount of Pb in the paint, since the swabs are exclusively qualitative. Finally, the swabs can be prone to false positives. Swabs=trouble.

Properly collected paint chips are absolutely conclusive from an analytical perspective, but destructive. Analysis fee is about $25 a pop. Turn-around time can be as few as 3 days. However, for some protocols, you may be required to take, say, 300 samples per house – do the math – not to mention the time necessary to collect 300 punch samples, bag them, ship them, etc.

Enter Scott’s recommendation for an XRF. Several years ago, I purchased a couple of XRFs. We could take 600 samples per house in eight hours with a two man team. I had both a discriminating XRF and a non-discriminating XRF. The down side to the XRFs were several:

1) Very high initial costs,

2) high maintenance fees,

3) high regulatory compliance problems (Since I was already a radiation safety officer, compliance with the State and Federal radiation regs was easy for me.) Some states (such as Massachessttes) were absurdly ridiculous with their regs, and some areas (such a Indian Lands) may have no regs at all. In many states, you will have to build a special room or enclosure to house the instrument, and prove to the state on an on-going basis that the radiation levels are no more than background, etc.

I recommend that if you want to get into LBP testing, find a local consultant who will sub the work for you.

Caoimh*n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
Forensic Industrial Hygiene (http://www.forensic-applications.com)

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


Joseph P. Hagarty
08-05-2007, 07:52 AM
Our Office recommends XRF only.

We work with a local company (Licensed in PA for this Business Activity) to provide this service to our clients that express a concern and/or need for this type of inspection.

william siegel
08-30-2007, 01:42 PM
Here in Florida you need to be licensed to conduct lead paint testing. There are only two companies that I now of in this area that have the proper gun to conduct the test. An average test for a home runs about $375.00.
There are guys out there doing it with swabs or chips. When some thing goes wrong and they get caught, I would not want to be in their shoes. The problem is, it will take a long time for someone to get caught, and with the way the laws are written, they will get a slap on the wrist and keep goin.

Jerry Peck
08-30-2007, 02:29 PM
My lead based paint testing was quite simple, really.

Client: I'm concerned the house might have lead based paint.

Me: How old is the house?

Client: It was built in 1950.

Me: It has lead based paint.

Client: What can I do about it?

Me: Buy a house built after 1980 and you will have less risk of lead based paint and finishes.


Jim Luttrall
08-30-2007, 06:05 PM
Caoimh*n, can you give a brief overview of the person or company that should be doing the testing? I have had a few calls from companies wanting to get a "clearance" test or inspection. Of course I could not help them and even doing on-line searches, I have found little information. I want to know just enough to be able to steer these folks in the right direction.
Thanks, Jim