Lead Paint Testing

Updated on May 11, 2009
E.K. asks from Spearfish, SD
7 answers

We have a house built in 1974 and apparently no decorating updates since. This makes it a fun Brady Bunch house (flocked wallpaper in orange and brown, etc.) BUT, I wonder about the paint and would like to have it tested for lead. Has anyone used a particular test/method or know about how much we should expect to pay? Any experiences would be appreciated. Thanks!

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answers from Duluth on

If you call your local Dept. of Health and Human Services they will test it for you, at least ours does.



answers from Minneapolis on

i sent you info....hope it helps



answers from La Crosse on

You can buy little test kits at Menard's or Home Depot. They look like a funny marker -- you smear it on the paint and it changes a different color if there's lead.
Don't do the expensive thing where you send it in to the state. Just assume that your house DOES have lead, and be more aware when you are remodeling, whatever. As long as it's not flaking or scraping off, you should be all right.
If you are REALLY concerned about lead in your house, or you think there's a lead problem, you can have yourself and your kids tested for lead at the doctor's, it's just a simple blood test.



answers from Minneapolis on

I just had the clinic run the test on my kids last month. I asked for a blood test that measures the lead concentration level in the kids' blood.

My home is built in 1978 or so too and we've lived here for over 2 years. The test results showed a blood lead concentration level far below than the threshold, which gave me peace of mind. The costs were very minimal and also covered by my insurance.



answers from Minneapolis on

If your house is newer than 1960 it shouldn't have lead paint. My pediatritian told me this and since our house was built after 1960 she didn't check our daughters blood lead level.

Note about the do-it-yourself tests. It only tests the top layer. If your house had many coats of paint it could still have lead. This is also true with toys. Sometimes the paint doesn't have lead but the plastic does. The kit will only test the paint unless you stratch the test area and test all the layers. If you have it tested by a professional make sure they do this.



answers from Omaha on

You should be able to find small lead paint test kits at almost any hardware store. They are small vials (maybe 3 or 4 a pack) that you crush and rub onto objects to see if they contain lead. The test is fairly quick and very easy.

I did this a few years back when we lived in a depression-era home.

Good luck!



answers from Wausau on

We've always lived in houses around 100 years old, so we always assume there IS lead paint. We live in a rural area, low income etc, so our plan of attack for lead has always been- either cover it up completely (paint over whatever is currently there; using textured paint if needed, or paneling or whatever) OR completely strip the walls to the studs and start over.

As long as you keep your kids OUT of the area, or better yet, out of the house, while the remodeling is going on, they won't be exposed during remodeling. Also, if you are pregnant, or have a pregnant guest, you and they should stay out the area or house during remodeling. For extra precaution, whoever is remodeling could wear those dust masks or respirators.

As long as your kids are not licking the walls or eating paint chips or handling peeling paint, they should be ok even if there IS lead. Just having lead-based paint isn't a cause for fear- having a crib painting with lead-based paint is more of a worry since babies and toddlers tent to mouth or chew the crib rails etc.

As suggested, you can always request (or demand) to have your child or self tested if you are worried. But likely since your home isn't that old, it won't have lead paint anyway.

I'll send you the EPA lead disclosure pamphlet too.

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