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What are the ways to test for lead in your home?

There are two recommended methods for testing your home for lead. It is crucial to determine the amount of lead present in the paint or soil during the testing process.

Laboratory Analysis:

You can opt for a laboratory analysis by an accredited facility. This typically costs between $25 and $50. By sending them a paint chip or soil sample, you can receive reliable results within 24 to 48 hours. Before mailing your samples, make sure to contact the laboratory for specific instructions. Additionally, keep a record or sketch of the locations from where you collect the samples.

How can you take a paint sample for lead testing?

Taking a Paint Sample: To test the paint, tape a clean, plastic sandwich bag underneath the area you want to examine. Use a clean, sharp chisel or scraper to scrape off a tablespoon-sized amount of paint into the bag. Ensure that you scrape off all layers of paint, including the bottom layer where lead is often found. Avoid scraping off any wood or plaster beneath the paint. Seal the bag and label it, indicating the location of the sample (e.g., Sample #1 - kitchen window sill). After each paint sample, wash your hands and the scraper with soap and water.

How can you take a soil sample for lead testing?

Taking a Soil Sample: For soil testing, use a clean trowel or large spoon to scoop about half a cup of soil from the top inch of the bare soil you wish to test. Try to avoid including plant leaves, roots, or large debris in the sample. If there are paint chips in the soil, it is acceptable to include them. Place the soil in a clean, plastic sandwich bag, seal it, and label it with the sample location (e.g., Sample #2 - under children's swing set). After each soil sample, wash your hands and the spoon with soap and water.

Reliance Construction recommendation for accurate test results:

Alternatively, you can hire a certified Inspector/Assessor who will inspect your home for lead. Obtain multiple bids to estimate the cost of the work. Request a risk assessment report from the Inspector/Assessor, which will inform you if the lead levels in your home pose a hazard and provide options for addressing the issue.

The certified Inspector/Assessor can also utilize an XRF (x-ray fluorescence) device to test your paint.

Source: California Department of Public Health

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