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Remodeling or painting a pre-1980 building? Get it tested for lead!

Lead Inspections

Lead InspectionHealthy Building Science conducts lead inspections for commercial, residential and public buildings with the goal of being lead-free. Our Environmental Consultants are certified through the Department of Public Health (DPH) to conduct Lead Inspections/Assessments and project monitoring. As a part of our lead inspections we frequently perform lead testing for air, dust, drinking water and bulk materials.

Lead Assessment

When do you need a lead assessment? Anytime there is an “impact” or renovation on older finishes a lead assessment is used to evaluate the risk of poisioning or worker/occupant exposure. The EPA considers 1978 and older buildings “target” for lead inspections. If you’re about to do a remodel or painting project in a pre-1980 building – you probably need an assessment.

Other reasons include having visibly damaged paint surfaces, known high blood-lead levels, or if occupants represent a high risk such as children, immune-compromised, or the elderly.

Lead Risk Assessment — If there are significant sources of lead exposures such as peeling paint and lead dust, or if an individual has high blood-lead levels or is suffering symptoms of lead poisoning – it probably warrants a Lead Risk Assessment. This is a more formal and comprehensive examination of the building and includes lead paint, dust, soil and water lead sampling. This is most helpful if you want to know know where lead exposure is coming from but have no idea of the source of lead.

Lead Testing Services

There are two parts to lead testing: Sampling and Lab Analysis. Most states (including California) require that those collecting samples be certified through some state agency. Unless someone is certified and trained in lead sampling techniques, we would not suggest they try to collect lead samples. Lead lab analysis should only be done by an accredited laboratory. Lead testing may include any of the following:

Air, Bulk Materials, Dust, Soil, Paint, Water

Worried about Lead Paint?

Lead Inspection and AssessmentThe EPA states that lead-based paint is still present in millions of homes, sometimes under layers of newer paint. If the paint is in good shape, the lead paint is usually not a problem. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking, damaged, or damp) is a hazard deserving immediate attention. We are a strong believer in healthy paints.

It is also considered a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:

  • Windows and window sills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches

Be sure to keep all paint in good condition and clean up dust (wet wipe or mop) frequently.

Lead in household dust results from indoor sources such as deteriorating lead-based paint. Lead dust can also be tracked into the home from soil outside that is contaminated by deteriorated exterior lead-based paint and other lead sources, such as industrial pollution and past use of leaded gasoline. Read more about lead dust.

Renovation, repair or painting activities can create toxic lead dust when painted surfaces are disturbed or demolished. OSHA has long regulated lead disturbing activities for worker protection, but the EPA’s “RRP” (Renovation, Repair and Painting Program) is presently the best known motivator for safe lead practices during construction activities.

Lead in Older Buildings

The EPA states that if your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned consumer uses of lead-containing paint, but some states banned it even earlier. Lead from paint leading to lead-contaminated dust is the most common causes of childhood lead poisoning.

If your home was built before 1978, have your home tested for lead and learn about potential lead hazards. Fixing any hazards that you have may be easier and less expensive than you fear. You can get your home checked in one or both of the following ways:

Lead Paint Inspection — Tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface in your home, but does not tell you if the paint is a hazard or how to deal with it. This is most appropriate when you are buying a home or signing a lease, before you renovate, and to help you determine how to maintain your home for lead safety.

Lead Risk Assessment — Tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure such as peeling paint and lead dust, lead piping or lead-based solder, naturally occurring lead in water or soil, etc. An assessment is very comprehensive and often includes sampling for lead-based paint, dust, soil and water. Reports include what actions to take to address any hazards found.

We provide industrial hygienist services 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.



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