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Homes built before 1980 may contain lead paint. Test before you renovate!

Abatement of environmental hazards such as lead paint, mold, and/or asbestos.

Lead Testing

Got cracking, peeling or flaking paint? About to renovate a Victorian or any pre-1980 building? One must assume coated surfaces contain lead or perform a lead test to ensure they do not. A good lead consultant knows the regulations and will prescribe a lead inspection appropriate in scope for the project.

Lead inspections include paint and material sampling to identify existing lead hazards. Depending on the situation, a lead survey may involve sampling for lead in air, dust, cooking and eating utensils, soil and water. Lead-paint inspections are restricted to painted and finished surfaces, while lead risk assessments cover the entire building and all its contents.

Lead Consultant San Francisco Bay Area

A good lead consultant will advice which type of lead survey and lead testing methods are appropriate for your specific project. Any pre-demolition project is a slam dunk for a lead survey, but if an occupant has elevated blood-lead levels and no construction is going on it would trigger a more involved lead assessment.

A California lead expert will have one of the following certifications:

  • Inspector/Assessor – An individual who assesses the degree of total lead hazard in residential or public buildings before, during, and/or after lead-related construction work.
  • Sampling Technician – An individual who collects samples under the supervision of a certified inspector/assessor.
  • Project Monitor – An individual who oversees lead-related construction work in residential or public buildings to ensure that contract plans and specifications are followed, who evaluates lead-related construction work and who may conduct testing to determine if contamination is adequately controlled.
  • Supervisor – An individual who is responsible for implementing lead-related construction work in residential or public buildings and enforcing work practices that ensure worker safety.
  • Worker – An individual who performs lead-related construction work in residential or public buildings under the direction of a lead-related construction Supervisor.

Lead Air Sampling

Healthy Building Science offers air sampling services when testing for lead in ambient air in buildings around the San Francisco Bay Area.  In addition to preliminary worker exposure evaluations, air sampling is useful at the end of abatement, renovation, or repair projects as part of a final inspection (“lead clearance”) of the abatement.

Air sampling for lead will not tell whether there is lead-based paint or other building materials that contain lead.  Only physical (destructive) sampling of the material itself and analysis by an accredited laboratory can provide that answer.  Air sampling may be useful if there is general concern about lead in the air or a suspicion that lead removal work was performed improperly.

Lead Testing for Dust

Lead dust on window sills can expose children to hazardous levels of lead.

Lead Dust Testing

Another type of sampling involves surface wipe methods.  This can help determine background levels, ID possible contamination, or be utilized for clearance purposes at the end of an abatement, renovation, or repair project as part of a final inspection of the abatement or impact work. Since hand-to-mouth is the primary exposure pathway for lead to children, often dust-wipe testing is the most telling. A lead wipe test has advantages and disadvantages, but it is a fast and inexpensive way to evaluate settled particulates for traces of lead.

Lead Testing Regulations

These services can help comply with applicable regulations including the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 17:

The General and Construction Industry Standard (CCR Title 8):

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992

The HUD Guidelines: Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing

and the Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (RRP):

Cal/OSHA requires safeguards for workers if any lead is present.

Because paint/material sampling is often destructive sampling, it may be prudent to sample only those materials to be impacted during the demolition/renovation activities.  If materials are not tested, the safest course is to avoid disturbing the suspect materials and to assume untested materials do contain lead.

Building materials that can contain lead include but are not limited to: exterior and interior paints, ceramic floor and wall tile glazing, vinyl mini-blinds, pipes, solder, shielding, cable covering, terne metal roofing, and brick mortar.

Lead Testing San Francisco Bay Area Projects:

  • Hayward lead testing for building material and hardware store
  • Richmond lead consulting for manufacturing facility
  • San Jose lead test for commercial office pre-demolition
  • San Francisco lead survey for single family home with child with lead poisoning
  • Oakland lead expert consulting for pre-purchase of commercial building, and drinking water quality testing for lead in schools
  • San Mateo lead assessment for medical office complex
  • South San Francisco lead paint testing for pre-demolition of affordable housing
  • Santa Rosa lead testing in soil after fires
  • Petaluma lead testing for single family home
  • Santa Clara lead consultant for high tech office before demolition
  • San Rafael water quality testing for lead in water

We provide lead tests and lead surveys to clients located in San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Napa, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County and Sonoma County.

Healthy Building Science has a CDPH-Certified Lead Inspector/Lead Assessor.

Give us a call next time you need a Lead Assessment or Lead Testing (415) 785-7986

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