1

I'm getting some work done on my house and the guy doing the work wanted to test for lead paint. He scratched an area on a window sill, rubbed it with the spongy tip of a swab, and immediately declared it lead free cause it didn't change to the color of red. However, I just walked into the room three hours later and see the two spots he tested are both red. So what should I think of that?

I presume his test kit is designed to give an immediate result and, hours later, might be showing residue of lead from decades ago. Or perhaps just the breakdown of the chemicals in the test. I don't know.

EDIT: From looking around, one "instant" lead check swabber recommended by the EPA said theirs gives results in 30 seconds. We weren't in the room long but it was longer than 30 seconds.

enter image description here

  • Are the spots a deep red (indicative of lead) or more-so rust orange (possibly staining from the test liquid)? Could you take a picture? – statueuphemism Aug 22 '17 at 18:17
  • I would want to know what the kit said. Many chemicals once activated breakdown. If your home is older than 70's you can almost guarentee that there is lead based paint on the lower layers of paint. – Ed Beal Aug 22 '17 at 18:40
  • It's not a deep red like the comment button over there --> or the answer button below. Maybe 50% lighter than that. I'll put a picture up if that might help. – Rob Aug 22 '17 at 18:44
  • You may have several layers of paint on this sill, and the test finally permeated down to the older lead based paint layer. The only reliable way of immediately testing is a portable X ray machine. – ajeh Aug 22 '17 at 19:38
1

I'm Lead Certified. That's orange, not red. That's just testing positive for Penetrol, or some derision thereof. It makes paint flow better. Not a danger to you or your windowsill lickers.

  • 1
    Hey! I don't lick those anymore. – Rob Aug 22 '17 at 21:22
1

When in doubt about a lead test that someone else has done, you can always buy your own test kit relatively cheaply (the last kit I picked up had two test swaps for about $7).

Then, you can read the directions and execute the test yourself. This should give you confidence about what the test results mean. I would recommend using one of the testers on something that you know for a fact to contain lead so that you can see the expected color as some of the kits will leave an orange residue which could otherwise leave you wondering if the areas you happen to test are all lead-free.

0

Do you have any kit materials left? Swab a surface where you are absolutely certain there can be no lead and check it three hours later.

Test on something portable, so you can view it right next to the windowsill.

  • No, I have no leftovers. – Rob Aug 22 '17 at 20:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.