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Many old homes still contain lead paint, which can be hazardous to your health -- even deadly. LeadCheck allows you to perform lead testing in your own home easily -- and start determining whether you need lead paint remediation today.

lead paint, lead testing, testing for lead paintLead testing: Does your home contain lead paint? Photo: Corbis

"When we got married it was our dream to buy old houses and fix them up," says Karen. But Karen and her husband didn't know their 100-year-old dream home would one day send their baby to the emergency room for poisoning from lead paint.

It all started when the couple began remodeling the entire house from top to bottom, including the kitchen, bathrooms, and front porch. They added a deck, updated the electric and plumbing and replaced all the windows. Then after their second son was born, they hired a contractor to paint the outside of the house.

"I had the windows open during some of the painting, thinking that the dust was not a [problem]," says Karen. "There were never any paint chips around and [contractor] just dry-sanded the paint."

Then one day, Karen's one-year-old son received a random blood test -- and she was advised to rush her baby to the emergency room for lead poisoning. "He was never showing any symptoms or signs of a problem," says Karen. In fact, that's true for most people affected by lead poisoning; you might not notice a problem until later in life. The symptoms of lead poisoning -- irritability, loss of appetite, vomiting, learning difficulties, memory loss -- happen well after the dangerous amounts have accumulated in the blood.

For 100 years, scientific reports have warned that lead paint was harmful to children, yet the product continued to be produced until the U.S. paint and coatings industry voluntarily reduced its use of lead pigments (which help paint dry faster) in consumer paints in the 1950s. Then the Consumer Products Safety Commission banned lead in consumer paints in 1978.

Still, there are 78 million homes built before 1978 in the United States, many of which still contain lead paint. Babies tend to put things in their mouths, making them particularly prone to lead poisoning, but anyone is at risk -- especially DIYers. Home improvements kick up lots of dust, sending lead paint into the air (and into your lungs. So, to help protect us from the dangers of lead dust, the EPA has started to require new lead-safe practices this year.

In addition, the EPA has recognized an inexpensive, DIY-friendly lead test kit called LeadCheck that's been around since 1992. It was created by a doctor, and is available at your local Lowe's and Sherwin-Williams stores.

Lead CheckDoes your home contain lead paint? Photo: LeadCheck

Plus, LeadCheck is easy to use: You just crush the ends of the LeadCheck swab like a Bright Glow Stick so the chemicals inside mix, and then you dab the end of the swab to the material you want to test. If the end of the swab turns pink or red, the surface contains lead.

For Karen and her family, the LeadCheck swabs may have not been enough to prevent her son from lead poisoning. But, if you're planning DIY projects and you just aren't sure if there's lead paint, a pack of swabs costs just $25.

(If you prefer to hire someone to work on your pre-1978 home instead of DIYing it, know that they must be EPA-certified renovators who are trained to follow lead-safe renovation, repair, and painting work (RRP) practices, which include containing the work area, minimizing the dust, and cleaning up thoroughly.)

On a personal level, my husband and I are planning to use LeadCheck as part of our RRP program while we renovate our home and clients' homes, and we've made a commitment to get our 2-year-old's lead level checked at his annual appointment just to be sure we're safe.

And how is Karen's family today? "Our youngest son is doing really well," says Karen. "Our oldest son -- who never had a lead level considered high -- was diagnosed with Asperger's soon after we left that house. I do wonder if even that small level of lead over a longer period of time had something to do with it."

Ever have an experience with lead paint? Share your story in the comments...

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  • Edward Marsh

    In order to keep you and your company legal visit: LEADPAINTEPASUPPLIES.COM for all of your RRP supplies including: LeadCheck lead test kits, Tyvek protective clothing, Hard to find items in one package and your HEPA Vacuum cleaner headquarters that are ready to ship, all items ship within 2 business days by Fedex ground or Fedex home delivery.

  • Edward Marsh

    The most common place for lead contamination in a home would be renovations including door and window replacements in the paint around these areas. Currently any window renovation in a home that had lead paint must use the lead paint safe renovation methods mandated by the EPA. The second biggest danger must be children’s toys because if you have an infant you know that everything ends up in their mouth. How many people have actually looked at where lead can be found other than the two previous listed items? For example: Ceramic dishes, Mini Blinds, extension cords, fresh water supply into your home, Wood trim (painted and varnished) and of course the most popular just plain old Paint. The new laws are now running full steam across the entire country in reference to renovations in houses that were built prior to 1978. Are you aware that the amount of lead dust that would fit into an artificial sweetener packet would contaminate your entire home? You can now do your own Lead paint detection lead test in your home with a very inexpensive lead test kit. Lead test kits are available on the open market for homeowners and professional renovators that have been trained by EPA certified teachers. Leadcheck is the only epa certified lead test kit do to its superior performance in all government testing. For LeadCheck lead test kits visit LEADPAINTEPASUPPLIES.COM for great prices and quick order fill rates on all lead paint renovation materials. If you have any questions email us at

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