You can find DIY kits for testing paint and ceramics at most paint and hardware stores for $8 - $10. These kits contain chemicals that change color when rubbed against a surface that contains lead.
However, it's important to note that these kits can only determine if there is lead in the paint you tested. They cannot tell you the amount of lead present or if it poses a hazard. Additionally, these kits cannot be used to test for lead in soil. If you choose to use a lead test kit for your paint, carefully follow the instructions on the package. Make sure to test the bottom layers of paint by cutting a slanted notch with a sharp knife and testing all the layers in the notch. Look for the color change indicated by the test kit.
If your house was built before 1978 and the lead test kit shows a negative result (no color change), it is recommended to have an accredited lab test the paint to ensure the accuracy of the lead test kit. Structures built before 1978 are legally assumed to have lead-based paint unless a state-certified Inspector/Assessor has conducted quantitative testing to prove otherwise.
Contact us so we can provide you with some of our trusted state-certified inspector's contact info.
Source: California Department of Public Health