Lead-Based Paint Inspection Results

POSTED BY on May 31 under Lead Paint Inspection Information
This is a page from the Single Family Housing LBP Testing Data Sheet. This is similar to HUD form 7.1. Single Family Housing LBP Testing Data Sheet

This form contains all of the testing combinations and the XRF readings taken during the inspection. In my next few blogs I’ll explain the information contained on this sheet. The most important information is in column “M”. This column contains the amount of lead detected for each reading. The quantity is the amount of lead  in the one square centimeter sample area detected by the XRF analyzer. Column “K” displays the action level for each reading. The action level for paint is 1 milligram per square centimeter. That means if the amount of lead detected is below 1 milligram per square centimeter the paint is not lead-based paint; if the level is equal to or greater than 1 milligram per square centimeter then the component tested is positive for lead based paint. Line number 15, reading number 501 indicates the cabinet on side D of bedroom #2 contains 1.6 milligrams of lead per square centimeter and is positive for lead-based paint. Line 21, reading #509 has a value of 0.7 milligrams per square centimeter. Although it does contain lead, it is below the action level of 1 milligram per square centimeter and is therefore negative for lead-based paint.

The readings can be enlarged by the control + command on windows PC’s to zoom in on the readings.

Project Clearance Testing

POSTED BY on Apr 30 under Lead Paint Inspection Information


Taking a dust wipe sample from a floor

I read a letter in a magazine questioning the EPA’s self clearance procedure for the Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). The letter talked about the EPA’s possible rule change requiring third party clearance for RRP projects in order to reduce/eliminate clearance issues. In California, Certified Inspectors are authorized to perform project clearance testing. Taking and analyzing dust wipe samples with an XRF analyzer provides immediate quantitative, defensible results as opposed to the RRP’s objective, visual self cleaning verification procedure. XRF analysis of dust wipe samples provides the contractor and home owner with on-site timely results that are definitive, confidant proof the project areas within the home are clean and free of lead dust contamination.

Dust wipe sample ready for XRF analysis


Lead Paint Inspection In Older Homes

POSTED BY on Mar 24 under Lead Inspection

I inspected this home in Vallejo  built in 1925 .  Contractors I’ve been talking to have concluded everything built before 1950 is full of lead-based paint.

I found that  most of the exterior components of this property did contain lead-based paint. Testing the interior of this house revealed some nice surprises. There is a lot of varnished trim in this house, and it’s all lead free. The  walls in the bedrooms, living and dining rooms along with their ceilings and floors are also lead free. The painted woodwork, kitchen and bath walls and ceilings have lead-based paint.

Older homes do contain lead-based paint, however, they also have surprises like this house did. Either way the information provided is of great importance to those living in and working on this home.

Lead Paint Inspection

POSTED BY on Mar 3 under Lead Inspection

North Bay Home Built in 1976

A couple with a six month old baby has  just leased this home.  During their son’s six month well check they were informed of the hazards of lead-based paint. Concerned for their baby’s health they decided to test for lead. Last week I tested their home for lead-based paint.

Built in 1976 this house was built near the end of the lead paint era. However, since the house was built prior to 1978 their is a chance that lead-based paint was used on this home.  A Lead Paint Inspection would confirm the presence of lead and give these parents the information they would need to protect their child. If the Lead Paint inspection revealed the house was free from lead-based paint their son would be free from the dangers of lead-based paint.

On Tuesday, February 22’nd I performed their Lead Paint Inspection. Thankfully the house is free of lead-based paint and these parents can relax. I found the results very interesting in regards to the new EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. According to the EPA RRP Rule, without my Lead Paint Inspection results all contractors working on this home would have to presume this house had lead-based paint. Contractors would be required to follow the RRP Rule when working on this house.  Repairs and maintenance of this property would be more expensive for the owner of this property. The Lead Paint Inspection Results will save  the owner of this property time and money on maintenance, repairs and improvements to this property.

Lead Paint Test Kits

POSTED BY on Mar 3 under Lead Paint Inspection Information

How many Lead Paint Tests do you need to replace this Window?

The Remodeling Contractors I’ve been talking with have been reluctant to hire a Certified Inspector to test their projects for lead- based paint. Many have been using and misusing Lead Paint Test Kits. They’ve also been unaware of the fact that it is often less expensive to hire an Inspector than to purchase and use Lead Paint Test Kits.

There are two Lead Paint Test Kits approved by the EPA. One is Lead Check Swabs by Hybrivet Systems and D-Lead by Esca Tech Inc.  Lead Check Swabs cost $27.00 for 8 swabs. They are not approved for use on drywall or plaster, they are easier to use than the D-lead. The D-lead tests are approved for drywall and plaster, however the test procedure is complicated and can take up to 13 minutes to get a result. A box of 24 tests costs $85.00 including tax. Both of these Lead Paint Test Kits require either cutting through the paint (window trim, drywall, etc) down to the substrate, or the taking of a paint sample.  Use of these products requires protecting the residence from contamination during the testing process.

Following the HUD Guidelines the number of tests required in the photo is 8. Four on the inside (Window trim, Shutter mounting  frame, drywall, and casework), and 4 on the exterior (window sash, window sill, window trim, and exterior siding) The D-lead test kit would be needed for the drywall, Lead Check Swabs could be used for the remaining components.

All of these components would be damaged by the testing procedure. That’s okay if the contractor is in the process of replacing the window. If the project is in the estimating phase the home owner may or may not allow the tests; would each bidding contractor perform their own tests? This house had over thirty windows, if each window needs 5 tests, that’s 150 tests! That is about $515 not including labor costs.

A Certified Inspector/ Risk Assessor using an XRF Analyzer could test all 150 components without causing any damage.  The time to perform all the tests? About an hour. It takes about two hours to download the results from the analyzer and generate the Inspection Report.  The total cost $400.  Not only is the XRF testing cheaper, it gives the contractor and the homeowner an additional level of liability protection.

Lead Paint Inspection

POSTED BY on Feb 15 under Lead Paint Inspection Information
Lead Paint Inspection Using XRF Analysis

Testing a door with a Niton XRF Analyze

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) define a  Lead Paint Inspection as a surface-by-surface investigation  to determine the presence of lead-based paint. In California, Lead Paint Inspections are performed by Certified Inspectors/ Risk Assessors. The California Department of Public Health certifies and licenses Inspectors in California. The Lead Paint Inspection will answer two questions. 1, Is there Lead-Based Paint present? And 2, If Lead-Based paint is present, where is it located?

There are two ways to perform a lead paint inspection. Inspection by paint chip analysis requires the collection of paint samples from the surfaces to be tested. This method is not recommended as it is time consuming, causes damage to the tested surfaces, and requires expensive  laboratory analysis of the collected samples.  The primary method for performing a Lead Paint Inspection is by the use of an X-Ray Florescence Analyzer. The XRF instrument exposes the component being tested to gamma ray radiation. The radiation ejects electrons from the lead atoms. As they leave they give off X-ray energy specific to the Lead atom. The analyzer detects this energy and determines the amount of lead present in the sample area. This testing method is fast, does not cause damage to the tested components and is very accurate. An inspector can test many surfaces in a short time period and determine the presence and absence of lead-based Paint in a safe, cost effective manner.

Testing Projects for Lead Paint

POSTED BY on Feb 4 under Lead Inspection

I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking to contractors about testing their projects for lead paint. The EPA’s new Renovation, Repair and Painting Final Rule (40 CFR 745) which became effective April 22’nd 2010 requires all contractors working on residences built prior to 1978 to be certified in safe lead work practices and registered with the EPA.

Most contractors are taking the fatalistic approach that all their projects all have lead paint and they’ll just have to deal with the new rules. Well, that means that every painted surface they touch in a pre-1978 house contains lead paint and they’ll be following the safety rules for every one of those surfaces. I tested the house shown above for lead paint last week.

This Novato, CA house was built in 1955; the prospective buyer is planning on a complete renovation. Using my Niton XRF analyzer I tested every exterior and interior painted surface. The exterior door jambs, one interior jamb, and one small section of painted stucco tested positive for lead paint. The remaining surfaces all tested negative! This means the buyer will need only follow the EPA rule when removing those few items that tested positive, the rest of their work can be performed using their normal work practices. Reducing the scope of work requiring safe lead work practices will save this owner thousands of dollars in demolition labor and materials.

XRF testing is a fast, safe, non-destructive method for determining the presence of lead based paint, lead dust, and lead contaminated soil. This inspection took a little less than a day to test and deliver the results report. In my next blog I’ll post a sample report and show how to read it.

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