Lead Based Paint Testing

Average Fee: $160 – $400

Due to the health hazards of lead poisoning(especially to young children and pregnant women), the government banned the use of “Lead Based Paint” in 1978. Although some lead based paint was used in 80% of pre-1978 housing, its mere presence does not constitute a health hazard. Properly maintained and managed, LBP poses little health risk to most people. However, one of the first things many people do when moving into a new house is to start sanding, painting, remodeling, etc. This easily generates lead based paint chips that can be picked up and ingested by small children or LBP dust that can be breathed by pregnant women and small children.

As of December 6, 1996, a new Federal Law went into effect that requires sellers and real estate agents jointly responsible for sharing in meeting certain LBP concerns. These include among others: disclosing any known Lead Based Paint surfaces or hazards in the home; giving the buyer a copy of the federal pamphlet “Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home” or an EPA approved state version of the pamphlet; giving the buyers a 10-day time period to get the house tested for LBP if they so desire; and certain contract languages regulating this.

The health hazards primarily related to high levels of lead in the blood stream are:

  • memory loss
  • difficult pregnancies
  • muscle and joint pain
  • slowed or stunted growth
  • hearing problems and headaches
  • high blood pressure and reproductive problems
  • damage to the brain and central nervous system
  • behavior and learning disorders such as hyperactivity

It is important to note that the law does not make either the seller or buyer remove the LBP or the LBP hazards if present (that would be up to negotiation between the parties). The law simply requires disclosure of known facts and mandates buyers right to test if so desired. The two most accurate and non-evasive methods of testing are: (1) a soil and paint chip analysis that will usually examine and take samples of 5-6 areas of the home likely to contain LBP (this costs about $160); (2) the second way is by means of an XRF machine (x-ray florescence machine) that, for a lack of a better description, takes x-rays of the walls in the house (this costs about $400).

Contact Guardian Residential Services for more information on lead based paint testing at 912.223.3012.