WHAT IS THE HAZARD?
You, your children, and your pets can swallow or breathe in lead dust and be poisoned. Lead damages the brain, nerves and kidneys. This damage can be permanent. Lead is especially dangerous to children and pregnant or nursing women.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Test painted surfaces to see if the paint contains lead before starting jobs that disturb surfaces in an older home. Testing is the only way to know for sure if lead is present.
HOW DO I TEST FOR LEAD?
There are different ways to test for lead in paint. Each has advantages and disadvantages:
- Home Test Kits
Many hardware and paint stores sell lead testing kits that use color-changing chemicals to detect lead. Be sure to follow the directions carefully You must test all the layers of the paint. These tests do not tell you how much lead is in the paint. However, they are quick, inexpensive and easy to do yourself. Sometimes these tests are wrong. If the test does not detect lead on a building built before 1978, you should also do a paint chip analysis.
- Paint Chip AnalysisLaboratory analysis of paint chips is the most accurate test for lead in paint. For a moderate cost, you can send paint chips to a laboratory to be analyzed for lead. Be sure to use a laboratory that is on the National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program list. Call (800)424-5323 to get a copy or visit www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/nllap.htm. Ask the laboratory for instructions on how to collect and ship samples.