Lead Paint

lead paint wipe sample

Are you concerned about peeling paint or lead dust in your home or facility? Was it built prior to 1978? Feel free to contact us to inspect for lead paint.

What is Lead Paint?

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used in paints prior to 1978. It was incorporated into paints due to its water resistance, durability, washability, and ability to make paint opaque. Ingestion or inhalation of lead-based paints can cause a myriad of health effects including neurological and behavioral effects in children exposed.  Although the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned lead in paint since 1978, it can still be found in old buildings constructed before the ban.

Where is Lead Typically Found?

Lead paint is typically higher in paints with brighter colors such as yellow and orange because of the use of lead chromate pigment. However, it can be found in high concentrations in white paints and

Homes built before 1950 typically have a higher lead concentration due to lead and other heavy metals being used in World War II for munitions and shipbuilding. Paints developed during this time were being switched from lead to titanium dioxide.

Window sills and troughs are among the highest risk areas because they are high friction and contact areas. Windows that are opened and closed frequently can cause paint to deteriorate more quickly than in other areas. Another reason that window sills and troughs are risky is that they are accessible to children.

Why is Lead Risky for Children?

Children below the age of 6 are most vulnerable to lead poisoning. This is because lead is absorbed into the bones which eventually leaches out into the rest of the body. Once lead leaches into the body it can cause irreversible neurological damage which may reduce cognition into adulthood. Another reason why children are so vulnerable to lead exposure is that they are more likely to ingest lead dust which drastically increases lead levels in the body. For example, children tend to put their hands in their mouth. If a child was crawling around in an area of high lead dust and placed her hands in her mouth, she would have ingested lead.

What are the regulations?

For schools, homes, and child care facilities built prior to 1978, there is a risk for lead exposure during projects as simple as painting, renovation or repair. In response, the EPA passed new rules in 2008 called The Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, also known as “RRP”. This rule was created so that any contractor who works in a school, home, or child care facility be certified before disturbing paint in properties built before 1978. The rule stipulates that contractors contain the work area, control dust generated from the work activity, and to clean up the work area properly after work activity has ceased. The rule only applies if the area of removal is larger than 6 square feet for interior work and 20 square feet for exterior projects that disturb lead paint. When renovating old buildings, you should also consider asbestos testing too.

Lead Testing

Are you considering renovating your home and have concerns about lead-based paint? We can inspect your home for the presence of lead-based paint before your renovation project disturbs the material. We offer paint chip and dust wipe sampling.

Paint chip sampling involves destructively removing all layers of paint on a surface while leaving the substrate behind. This is the most accurate method but can be more costly if a large number of samples are needed.  Also, the damaged areas sampled must be repaired.  XRF testing is not as accurate, but it can be more convenient when testing an entire home.

Dust wipe sampling doesn’t directly sample the paint on a surface, but rather evaluates the presence of lead that has accumulated in the dust.  When windows with lead paint are opened and closed, a fine amount of lead dust can be generated, which settles on the windowsill or floor below.  This dust is best sampled with a wipe sample. Dust samples are also used for clearance testing following abatement.

Lead Clearance Testing

Have you had lead paint removed in your home? Clearance testing is required to clear lead abatement projects once all work has ceased. This testing is used to evaluate the levels of residual lead dust after removal. Indoor Science’s lead inspector is licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to perform clearance testing.

To set up an appointment, please give us a call at (312) 920-9393.