My 1yo daughter came back with slightly elevated lead levels (5.3). Our house, which we've rented for the last six months, is old but has been extensively renovated and painted many times in the last 15 years. It's also possible she picked up the lead from somewhere else she frequents.

I tested the window sills in our house with the lead detector q-tip swabs, and some came back positive. The top layer of paint everywhere looks very new with no chips or other visible damage. Example of window frame that came back positive

(I also tested the water in our house, and it was negative for lead.)

My question is what to do:

Since the paint on top is new, should I just assume the lead is from elsewhere and leave it alone?

Should I use lead encapsulation paint and paint over everything?

If so, do I need to take further precautions to prevent the spread of dust? Do I need to buy protective gear, an N100, and so on? This happens in some youtube videos, but it's always with chipped lead paint that requires removal as well.

Do I need to call someone else in who's "lead certified" to handle this?

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    Having a one year old makes this tough. Lead paint is usually safe if not eaten or sanded, that is where the problem starts. I would test the floors/ceilings also, if the paint was sanded before, the dust on/in the floors might be the problem.
    – crip659
    Aug 11, 2023 at 23:55
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    It could also have come from toys, especially Chinese Toys. Aug 12, 2023 at 2:26
  • It's a rental, so isn't it the landlord's problem? I mean, obviously the lead is a problem for your daughter, but obviously it's the LL's responsibility to remediate.
    – Huesmann
    Aug 12, 2023 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


Children don't get lead from mere contact with several layers of modern paint over ancient lead paint. They get lead from paint by the paint peeling and chipping, and then them eating the chips, or gnawing on window sills and the like. There is not another vector for lead poisoning from paint.

A far more likely source of lead is value-priced items bought mail order from certain famous sites whose items are actually sold by 3rd party sellers, often unbeknownst to the purchaser who knows the mail-order site only as a very large retailer. Or obviously, crud bought from flea markets, eBay, Banggood, Wish.com, AliExpress and other mail order sites. Generally the retail shelves of bricks-and-mortar stores are pretty well guarded.

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