Lead Paint Removal >> Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil

Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint and Soil Why should I test my home for lead? If you have children, lead in your home can cause serious long term health and behavior problems for them. Lead is a hazard to children under 6 years of age in particular. Lead in paint, dust and soil is a problem for children because it gets in their bodies when they put their fingers, toys or paint chips or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil dust into their mouths. 

Lead can also harm a pregnant woman and her developing fetus. You should consider testing for lead if there are children in your home and... your house was built before 1978, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil or your house is near a freeway or busy roadway where leaded gasoline and its exhaust may have polluted the soil with lead. 

If your house was built before 1978, it is especially important to test for lead if... your house has peeling or chipping paint; Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil  your house has bare soil in the yard where children play; you plan to repaint, remodel or renovate the house; a child living in the house has had a blood lead test result indicating lead exposure  

Your house was built before 1950 -- such homes almost always have some lead-based paint. If you are buying or renting a home... federal laws require the seller to give you an Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil informational pamphlet and to tell you about any known lead hazards in the home. (These federal laws also give home buyers 10 days to inspect for lead. 

The law does not require landlords to allow a renter to inspect for lead.) Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD for information and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil materials about real estate disclosure laws and for the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home. Where should I test for lead? 

The most important areas to test for lead are those areas where children spend a lot of time, such as bedrooms, playrooms, kitchens, and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil play-yards. It is especially important to test these areas if there is bare soil or if paint is peeling or chipping. You should also test places where you plan to repaint or remodel. Test several different spots. 

If you are testing paint, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil test each different paint color. If you are testing soil, test different bare soil areas. Some good places to test for lead-based paint are... window frames and sills doors, door jambs and thresholds trim and siding kitchen cabinets painted children's furniture baseboards 

Some good places to test for lead-contaminated soil are... around the foundation of the house where children play unpaved pathways  under windows or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil walls with peeling or chipping paint where pets play or rest areas near traffic How do I test for lead? There are 2 recommended ways to test your home for lead. 

Whenever you test for lead, it is important to find out how much lead is in the paint or soil you test. Get a laboratory analysis: For $25 - $50, you can have a paint chip or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil soil sample tested by an accredited laboratory and get reliable results in 24 - 48 hours. Call the laboratory for details before you mail them your samples. 

Keep a sketch or list of the locations where you take samples. Taking A Paint Sample: Tape a clean, plastic sandwich bag underneath some paint you want to test. Use a clean, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil sharp chisel or scraper to scrape a tablespoon size amount of paint into the bag. Try to scrape off all the layers of paint, not just the top coats -- lead is often in the bottom layer of paint. 

Try not to scrape off any of the wood or plaster that is under the paint. Seal the bag and label it. On the label, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil write where the sample was taken (example: Sample #1 - kitchen window sill). Wash your hands and the scraper with soap and water after each paint sample you take. Taking A Soil Sample: 

Using a clean trowel or large spoon, scoop about half a cup of soil from the top inch of the bare soil you want to test. Try not to scoop up plant leaves, roots, or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil other large pieces of debris. If there are paint chips in the soil, it is OK to include them in the sample. Place the soil into a clean, plastic sandwich bag. Seal the bag and label it. 

On the label, write where the sample was taken (example: Sample # 2 - under children's swing set). Wash your hands and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil the spoon with soap and water after each soil sample you take. Hire a Certified Inspector/Assessor: You can hire a State-certified inspector/assessor to inspect your home for lead. 

Obtain at least two or three bids for a cost estimate of the work. Ask the inspector/assessor to write you a risk assessment report that will tell you if the lead levels in your home represent a hazard and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil what options you have for dealing with it. The certified inspector/assessor can test your paint with an XRF (x-ray fluorescence) machine, for immediate results. 

He or she can also send paint, dust and soil samples to a laboratory for testing. Make sure the inspector/assessor gives you a sketch or a description of where the samples were taken. For a list of State-certified inspector/assessors, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil go to the State-certified inspector/assessor page on this site. How can I tell if I have lead above the hazard level in my paint or soil? 

The table below shows hazard levels of lead in paint, soil and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil dust, as determined by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) may have different hazard level definitions. 

Lead in Paint Hazard Levels lab test results of 5,000 ppm (parts per million) or 0.5% or more (by weight) XRF test results of 1.0 milligrams of lead per square centimeter (1.0 mg/cm2) or more Lead in Bare Soil Hazard Levels lab test results of 400 ppm or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil more in bare soil in areas where children play lab test results of 1,000 ppm or more in all other areas 

Lead in Dust Hazard Levels dust from interior floors with 40 micrograms of lead per square foot (40 µg/ft2) or more dust from interior horizontal surfaces with 250 micrograms of lead per square foot (250 µg/ft2) or more dust from exterior floors and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil exterior horizontal window surfaces with 400 micrograms of lead per square foot (400 µg/ft2) or more Important: 

No matter what your test results are, the condition of your house's paint and soil is important. If the soil is covered by grass, bushes or permanent ground coverings, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil even high levels of lead in the soil may not be hazardous to children. If you are not planning to remodel and the paint is in good condition -- not chipping or peeling -- it may not be a lead hazard, even if it contains high levels of lead. 

If the paint is peeling or chipping, if it is on doors and windows where normal wear and tear causes chipping, or if you plan to remodel the area, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil you should take steps to prevent the lead from poisoning your children. Warning: Lead test results are only as good as your testing procedures. The results will not tell you about the lead content of painted surfaces or soil that you did not test. 

Hire a State-certified inspector/assessor to make sure you get accurate testing results. Can I just use a lead test kit from a paint store? Kits for testing paint and ceramics are available at most paint and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil hardware stores for $8 - 10. They have chemicals that change color when rubbed against a surface that contains lead.  

These kits can only tell you if there is lead in the paint you tested. They will not tell you how much lead is in the paint or if it is a hazard. You can not use them to test for lead in soil. If you decide to use a lead test kit to test your paint, Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil follow the directions on the package very carefully. Be sure to test the bottom layers of paint. 

To do this, use a sharp knife to cut a slanted notch through all the paint layers on the spot you want to test. Test all the layers of paint in the notch. Look for the color change indicated by the test kit. If your house was built before 1978 and your lead test kit comes out negative (does not change color), Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil you should have an accredited lab test the paint to make sure the lead test kit worked properly. 

What should I do next? If the lead in your paint or soil exceeds the hazard levels listed above, you should... Contact your family doctor or your local health department and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil get blood lead tests for your children who are 6 years of age or under. Discuss whether other family members should be tested. Find out about everyday things you can do to prevent lead poisoning.  

Consider hiring a State-certified lead inspector/assessor to inspect your home for lead. Hire a State-certified lead contractor to reduce the lead hazards in your home and yard. If you plan to repaint or Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil remodel your home, hire a State-certified lead contractor. 

If you plan to do the work yourself, get the EPA's free how-to booklet, Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home and Testing Your Home For Lead In Paint And Soil contact your local health department to find out about lead safe work practices to prevent poisoning yourself or your children.

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