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Test any home for lead paint with this simple kit

Testing for lead-based paint can ensure a home is safe. These new kits allow you to complete the process quickly and affordably.

lead paint

Because you’ve been in the business, you know the perils of lead-based paint. While it is not generally a hazard in its dried state, it is hazardous when scraped, ingested, or inhaled (especially the dust from scraping). Coming in contact with it in these forms can cause a whole host of symptoms from headaches to brain damage.

Then why would manufacturers use it? Lead was originally used in paint to provide durability, but in 1978 the government outlawed it due to the hazards.

Often times, if you buy (or sell) a home built before 1978, you will be asked/required to conduct a lead-based paint test. Likewise, if you rent a property in states like Oklahoma, you are provided with a pamphlet regarding the dangers of this paint and how you can be treated in you are exposed. When you have a lead-based paint test, an inspector will come and gather soil samples as well as samples of paint from various areas of your home. These tests can be rather expensive, however.

Finally, an affordable option

Now, there are two EPA-approved lead paint testing kits that you can do yourself. These kits will run between $20 and $40; compare this to the $300-$400 you will spend for a professional and you can see the appeal of the do-it-yourself version. The kits use color changing technology to provide results in a few minutes.

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The first kit, by Klean-Strip will test wood and drywall materials for lead. This kit gives you a chart, allowing you to gauge the amount of lead by the color-coding on your strip once you’ve performed the test. You can take up to six samples with the kit, which will allow you to test several surfaces or rooms.

The second kit, 3M LeadCheck, is a swab kit. You can use it to test wood, metal, plaster, and drywall. The end of the swab tool will turn red only if lead is present (down to 600 parts per million). If the swab does turn red, the website provides information on how to treat lead-based paint.

The 3M kit would be ideal to use when taking your clients to older homes they may be considering putting an offer on, or for any clients flipping homes. But you or your clients may cause damage to the home, so use them only in discreet areas, and only in listings you’re serious about.

Why you should still use a professional

Just as you know the value of being hired for your professional services, you should still hire the pros for a final check before making any final decisions.

If a home was built before 1978, it is worth the expense to have a professional double-check your results. If your client decides to do any remodeling, the dust is extremely dangerous.

Professionals have the tools to make certain there is no lead in the paint. Doing it yourself can certainly save you money, but you run the risk of not scraping far enough down to get enough potentially contaminated paint for an accurate result. DIY kits are a great place to start, but I would not rely on them completely.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.


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