Testing for Lead-Based Paint
Do you live in a home that was built before 1978? Are you planning a remodeling project for that home? If so, you will need to have the home tested for lead-based paint prior to the renovation.
Are you in the process of purchasing a home that was originally built before 1978? Are you a Realtor working with a home buyer? If so, the home buyer is allowed 10 days to have a lead-based paint inspection conducted on that home by a Licensed Lead Risk Assessor or Licensed Lead Inspector.
Are you a remodeler or contractor who is ready to renovate a home, which was originally built before 1978? If so, the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule requires you to have that home tested for lead-based paint prior to any renovation.
Whether you are a current homeowner, a potential homeowner, or a renovator, you should have lead-based paint testing conducted on pre-1978 housing.
Since lead-based paint was banned from residential use in 1978, any home built before 1978 could contain lead-based paint. Lead is very hazardous to all humans, but especially to children. If a pre-1978 home contains lead-based paint, lead dust can be created through normal deterioration, such as peeling, flaking, or chalking, abrasion, such as the friction caused by opening and closing windows, drawers, or doors, or renovation, such as a normal remodeling project. If lead dust is ingested or inhaled, even in modest amounts, it can poison a child or even an adult.
If you want to verify if lead-based paint is present in a home, the federal EPA regulations allow for only three options:
1) If there are no Federal Funds, such as HUD Funds, being used, the EPA allows a specially trained Certified Renovator, who has successfully passed an EPA-accredited 8-hour training program, working for a Certified Firm, which has already been approved in writing by the EPA, to use an EPA-approved lead test kit to check for lead-based paint. Some test kits are not approved, by the EPA, for use on sheetrock (drywall) or plaster or stucco. If there are any Federal Funds being used, this option for testing is not allowed. Even if this type of testing is allowed by the EPA, for greater certainty, either the homeowner or the renovator can still request a Licensed Lead Risk Assessor or Licensed Lead Paint Inspector to conduct the testing so that a report can be received.
2) A Licensed Lead Risk Assessor or a Licensed Lead Paint Inspector can use a non-destructive testing method, which uses an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analyzer. This method of lead-based paint testing uses a sophisticated X-Ray instrument to analyze the painted components of a home. The XRF Analyzer provides specific information to verify if lead-based paint is present or not present in a home. After the inspection, a full report is presented to the homeowner and/or renovator.
3) A Licensed Lead Risk Assessor or a Licensed Lead Paint Inspector can use a destructive testing method know as Paint Chip Sampling. This method of lead-based paint testing requires the removal of paint from the painted components of a home. The paint chips, which can be somewhat large, are then sent to an EPA-approved Laboratory, where they are “digested” and analyzed for the presence of lead. The EPA-approved Laboratory will produce specific information about which paint chips contained lead and which paint chips did not contain lead. After the analysis, a full report is presented to the homeowner and/or renovator.
These are the only three approved methods of testing for lead-based paint in a pre-1978 home. No one else can legally conduct this type of testing.
When you select which option of lead-based paint testing that you prefer, make sure to see the current License of your Lead Risk Assessor or Lead Paint Inspector.
If you are a homeowner that will be having a renovation performed by a specially trained Certified Renovator, make sure that the renovator shows you his or her current version of the Certified Renovator Certificate and the current version of his or her company’s Certified Firm Certificate, and gives you a free copy of the Renovate Right pamphlet. These documents are required by law, so please make sure you receive them.
If you have any questions about protecting your family before renovations involving lead-based paint, please call (713) 213-1205 or email email@example.com.
It is extremely important that you have accurate information about lead-based paint so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
About the Author
Scott von Gonten, CGA, CGP, CR, CDST, provides Consulting Services as well as the most accurate, effective, and memorable Certified Renovator Training and Certified Dust Sampling Technician Training available. ConserveIQ is partnering with the National Center for Healthy Housing, an EPA-accredited training provider, to present Certified Renovator and Certified Dust Sampling Technician training Nationwide. Scott is a Principal Instructor for NCHH, a Certified Renovator, a Certified Dust Sampling Technician, a Certified Graduate Associate, and a Certified Green Professional. He is also a member of the NAHB Society of Honored Associates, the Faculty of the NAHB University of Housing, the Boards of Directors for the National Association of Home Builders and the Texas Association of Builders, as well as many other boards, councils, and committees at the national, state, and local levels. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 213-1205. Take the "ConserveIQ Quiz" at www.ConserveIQ.com.