Lead containing paints were banned in late 1970s after detection of their health hazards but they still exist undetected in many places.
Children can chew the paint unknowingly and if it contains lead then it can be dangerous for their mental well-being.
Lead provides durability and stability to the paint and hence it was used in that era!
The sad part is that lead is not at all harmful at the time it is being applied in the form of paint; it becomes dangerous when it starts scraping and is ingested or inhaled as dust.
Hence if you are planning to remodeling and repainting your house then you should always check if the lower layers of paint contain any sort of lead. If you won’t check then the lead will continue to remain under the layers of new paint.
Here is how you can test the presence of lead yourself and then decide how to deal with the results!
Lead checking kits
There are inexpensive and ready-made kits available which are certified and safe to use. You can refer to instructions on them but they are suitable for usage on both hard and soft wall materials. There are two variants available in these kits! The first variant (cheaper one) just detects whether the lead presence is positive or negative while the other variant also detects the quantity of lead. Always ensure that you have checked the durability and expiry date of the packaged product.
- All you need is the kit and a utility knife. The kit would contain some wipes which you should use to clean the surface before you take out sample of the paint. Lead dust is very dangerous for kids and hence samples of dust are also relevant for this testing.
- After you have wiped the surface, take a utility knife or razor blade as we now need to pull off the paint. Choose a corner which is easy to hide! You can peel off little paint for sample from behind the door or somewhere inside the closet as these are less trafficked areas and there are least chances for the paint to get peeled off automatically. Make sure you peel it off to the very bottom most layer as the surface layer might be non-lead but the layers below might have lead. Collect this paint in one of the chip cards in the kit.
- The kit contains two solutions to measure the presence and intensity of lead content. Put the paint in solution numbered as one, shake it up and wait for ten seconds. Now add five drops of solution two in the mixture and wait for next 10 seconds after shaking it up. The color of the solution will change and then you can compare it with score card. The darker the shade of color; the presence of lead is high! Some kits contain a marker containing some chemicals instead of solution. You need to rub that marker against the surface of the wall and if the color changes to darker shades then it signifies the presence of lead!