Q:

How do you test for lead paint?

A:

Quick Answer

Test for lead paint by removing small samples of paint from areas you suspect of containing lead. Send the paint chips to an accredited laboratory, and await the results.

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Full Answer

  1. Purchase a lead-testing kit

    Purchase a lead-testing kit from a reliable laboratory. Check your state health department for recommended laboratories.

  2. Write a list of sampling areas

    Use the kit to sample vulnerable places such as window frames and sills, door frames, kitchen cabinets and baseboards. Look carefully for peeling paint, and test it.

  3. Prepare the sample bag

    Tape a sandwich bag under the paint you are testing, and open the bag so the paint falls inside.

  4. Scrape the paint

    Take a clean, sharp chisel or screwdriver, and scrape off some of the suspected paint. Scrape the paint to the bare surface, and collect at least 1 tablespoon of paint.

  5. Close the bag

    Push excess air out of the bag, and zip it closed completely.

  6. Label the bag

    Using a permanent marker, mark the location where you scraped the paint. Label the bag, and mark your list of sampling areas.

  7. Continue sampling

    Remove paint from each sampling area, and keep each sample in a separate sandwich bag.

  8. Wash hands and equipment

    Thoroughly wash your hands and the scraper in the bathroom sink.

  9. Mail the samples to the laboratory

    Mail the samples to the selected laboratory, and enclose payment as required.

  10. Wait for results

    Wait for results from the laboratory. Call the laboratory if it doesn't respond in a reasonable time.

  11. Treat if necessary

    If you find lead paint, hire a professional company to handle it.

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