Lead Testing A to Z: What Is It And Why You Need It

Lead testing is a process by which it is determined whether or not your home contains trace elements of lead. It is a fundamental process for individuals whose homes were built before 1978. That’s the year that the U.S. government outlawed the use of lead in paint. If you live on a busy road, car exhaust contains lead.

  • The paint on your home’s walls is peeling or chipping.
  • Your yard contains bare soil on which kids play.
  • You intend to remodel or renovate the home.
  • Your home houses little children.

Why Is Lead A Concern?

Lead is a soft, blue-gray metal that enters our environment through activities such as mining, manufacturing and the burning of fossil fuels. Lead-based paint used to be very popular in the home-building industry because of its resilience to moisture, as well as its sheen look.

The problem with lead is that it is highly toxic. There is in fact no safe level of lead, meaning even a smidgen of it is harmful to the body. The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable. Furthermore, it is not contagious. You can’t accidentally sneeze poisoning onto somebody else.

Lead poisoning has the potential to affect every part of the human body, yet it often goes completely undiagnosed. This occurs because it often causes no noticeable symptoms. It can cause hyperactivity, irritability, constipation, loss of appetite and insomnia. However, these symptoms can easily be attributed to something else.

The big problem with lead is that lead poisoning can lead to a bevy of conditions. These include learning disabilities, behavioral problems, seizures, comas and even death. In addition, lead is prevalent in many, many places:

  • In paint manufactured before 1978.
  • In the soil around one’s home.
  • In exhaust fumes.
  • In household dust.
  • In drinking water.
  • In old painted furniture.

This is why testing for lead is a must, especially if your home was built before 1978.

What Does Testing For Lead Entail?

Lead can show up in many places in a home. For instance, lead-based paint and/or lead-contaminated soil can show up in all of the following:

  • Window frames and sills
  • Doors, door jambs and thresholds
  • Trims and sidings
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Painted furniture
  • Baseboards
  • Home foundation
  • Unpaved pathways
  • Under windows
  • Under walls

While completely manual lead testing is a possibility, it’s better to use more accurate methods. Two such methods include laboratory analysis and professional inspection.

Laboratory Analysis

It costs only between $25 and $50 to get paint and/or soil tested for lead by a professional laboratory. Furthermore, the samples usually take no more than 48 hours to be tested. The key to this method entails taking as many samples from as many spots in your home as possible.

Professional Inspection

The more thorough approach involves hiring a certified inspector to test your home with x-ray fluorescence devices. The inspector will not only test your entire home, but he/she will also send samples to a lab. Unfortunately, this methods tends to cost quite a big more than mere lab analysis alone.

Is There Anything Else To Know?

It would also be wise to get your family itself tested for lead, especially if you have children. There is no antidote per se for lead, but there are ways to slowly but surely remove lead from your body. Just keep in mind that if your home turns out to contain lead, you will need to have that lead removed. Otherwise, it will be completely pointless to get any personal treatment for lead poisoning.

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