Lead Paint Testing FAQs

Accuracy of the EPA Recognized Test Kits

 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) evaluated commonly available test kits on a variety of paints and other products containing different levels of lead. Many of the tests performed using the kits did not detect lead when it was there (false negatives); some indicated lead was present when it was not (false positives). Of 104 total test results, more than half (56) were false negatives, and two were false positives. None of the kits consistently detected lead in products if the lead was covered with a non-leaded coating. Based on the study consumers should not use lead test kits to evaluate consumer products for potential lead hazards. These findings are consistent with previous CPSC staff test results.

 

CPSC staff studied two common types of home lead test kits that are based on chemical reactions involving rhodizonate ion or sulfide ion. Most test kits were developed to detect levels of lead in household paint that are usually much higher than CPSC’s regulatory maximum level of 0.06%. As a result, staff found that these kits may not be useful for detecting relatively low lead paint concentrations or for detecting lead in other materials, such as metal jewelry or vinyl products. Also, both types of kits may be affected by substances such as iron, tin, or dirt, or by paint colors that can cause the color in the test kit to change or hide the color change, thereby interfering with interpretation of the test results.

 

Question: Do test results from a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit (40 CFR § 745.83) or performing paint chip sampling (40 CFR § 745.82) become an official part of the lead-based paint testing record for that house thus negating the need for a certified lead inspector or certified lead risk assessor to conduct the inspection in that area of the house?  Can a certified renovator conduct a complete lead based paint inspection and give the property owner as an inspection report?

 

Answer: The results of paint testing using lead test kits or paint chip sampling are part of the official lead-based paint testing record for a home, and must be disclosed under EPA's Real Estate Disclosure regulation (40 CFR part 745, subpart F).  However, EPA's regulations only provide for a certified inspector or risk assessor to conduct a lead-based paint inspection and to prepare a lead-based paint inspection report.  Thus, allowing renovators to test components does not negate the requirement that a certified inspector or risk assessor follow the requirements set forth in § 745.227(b) when conducting a lead-based paint inspection.

 

Question: Is lead paint testing required under the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule?

 

Answer: No.  A firm can either assume lead-based paint is present and follow the requirements of the rule (which requires no testing), or test and if lead-based paint is found follow the requirements of the regulation.

   

Question: Do test results from a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit (40 CFR § 745.83) or performing paint chip sampling (40 CFR § 745.82) become an official part of the lead-based paint testing record for that house thus negating the need for a certified lead inspector or certified lead risk assessor to conduct the inspection in that area of the house?  Can a certified renovator conduct a complete lead-based paint inspection and give the property owner as an inspection report? 

 

Answer: The results of paint testing using lead test kits or paint chip sampling are part of the official lead-based paint testing record for a home, and must be disclosed under EPA's Real Estate Disclosure regulation (40 CFR part 745, subpart F).  However, EPA's regulations only provide for a certified inspector or risk assessor to conduct a lead-based paint inspection and to prepare a lead-based paint inspection report.  Thus, allowing renovators to test components does not negate the requirement that a certified inspector or risk assessor follow the requirements set forth in § 745.227(b) when conducting a lead-based paint inspection.

 

Question: When testing a work area, does one lead test kit or paint chip sample suffice for any single component?  What if a component's surface area is extensive (i.e. a large wall)? 

 

Answer: The certified renovator is only required to use one lead test kit or paint chip sample for each component, even if the surface of the component is extensive (e.g., a large wall). 

 

Question:   Does the RRP Rule apply to work on windows that have been installed within the last 20 years in a pre-1978 housing unit?  Would confirmation of the window installation based on property owner documentation (i.e., receipts, warranty paperwork, contracts) and/or date of manufacture of the windows be sufficient to exclude this work from the lead-safe work practices and other requirements? 

 

Answer: The RRP Rule applies unless you have determined that all the components affected by the renovation, including the windows, are free of paint or other surface coatings that contain lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2) or 0.5% by weight.  This determination must be made either by a certified inspector or risk assessor, or by a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit or performing paint chip sampling.  You must keep records of any lead-based paint free determination and make the records available to EPA if requested.   

 

Question:  When a certified renovator uses an EPA-recognized lead test kit or performs paint chip sampling to determine the presence of lead, can the results be grouped?  For instance, may the certified renovator test just one window sill in a room if all will be affected?   

 

Answer: No.  The certified renovator must test each component affected by the renovation.  If the components make up an integrated whole, such as the individual stair treads and risers of a single staircase, the renovator is required to test only one of the individual components, unless the individual components appear to have been repainted or refinished separately.  Multiple window sills are not integrated parts of a whole.  They are separate components and must be tested separately. 

 

Question:  What lead test kits are recognized by EPA? 

 

Answer: To date, EPA has recognized three lead test kits for use in complying with the negative response criterion of the RRP rule. They are the 3M LeadCheckTM kit (for use on ferrous metal, plaster, drywall and wood), the State of Massachusetts kit (for use on drywall, plaster), and the D-Lead® kit (for use on wood, drywall, plaster, and ferrous metal). If a substrate material is not listed above (such as stucco, or nonferrous metals) then the EPA-recognized lead test kits cannot be used on that substrate to comply with the testing requirements of the RRP rule. 

Note: the Massachusetts test kits are not available commercially.

 

Question:   Does EPA recognize the 3M LeadCheckTM test kit for use on red paint? 

 

Answer: Yes. EPA recognizes this lead test kit for use on any color paint as long as the lead test kit is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. 

 

Question: If a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit or paint chip sampling determines that the components that will be affected by a renovation are free of lead-based paint, can a firm that does not have RRP certification do the actual renovation work? What record-keeping requirements would apply? 

 

Answer:  Where a certified renovator performs paint chip sampling or uses an EPA-recognized lead test kit following the lead test kit manufacturer’s instructions, tests each component affected by the renovation, and determines that the components are free of paint or other surface coatings that contain lead at regulated levels, the renovation can be performed by a non-certified firm and without regard to the work practice standards or record-keeping requirements of the RRP Rule. See 40 CFR 745.82(a)(2). However, the certified renovator and firm performing the testing are still subject to the record keeping requirements of 745.86(b)(1)(ii) and (iii), and 745.86(a) and (c).  Specifically, the certified renovator must prepare a record that states the brand of lead test kit used or the name and address of the EPA recognized laboratory performing the paint chip analysis, a description of the components tested including their location, and results of the tests.  The certified renovator’s firm must retain a copy of this record for three years. EPA further recommends that the firm actually performing the renovation also retain a copy of these records to demonstrate that compliance with the RRP Rule was not required.

 

Question: Will there be any Phase Two lead kits approved as a result of EPA’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) evaluations? 

 

Answer: Based on the results of the recent ETV evaluations no new lead test kits were approved that meet both the negative response and positive response criteria requirements. However, one lead test kit, D-Lead®, did meet the negative response criterion for drywall, plaster, ferrous metal and wood, and was recognized for use by certified renovators on August 31, 2010. Thus, after September 1, 2010, EPA will continue to recognize 3M LeadCheckTM, the State of Massachusetts kit, and the newly recognized D-Lead® kit.

 

Question: My firm is not RRP-certified and does not employ an RRP-certified renovator.  If we are asked to perform a renovation in a pre-1978 home, we first test the home for the presence of lead using an EPA recognized lead test kit. If lead is present, we decline the job.  If lead is determined not to be present, we accept and proceed normally.  Can we perform these lead tests without being a certified renovator?   

 

Answer: No.  When performing a renovation in a pre-1978 home, a firm is exempted from the requirements of the RRP Rule if a determination has been made that the surfaces affected by the renovation are free of paint or other surface coatings that contain lead equal to or in excess of 1.0 mg/cm2 or 0.5% by weight.  However, in order for this exception to apply, the determination must be made by a certified lead inspector or risk assessor, or by a certified renovator using an EPA-recognized lead test kit and following the lead test kit manufacturer’s instructions.   

 

Question: Under the RRP Rule, when testing a property for the presence of lead prior to beginning a renovation using an EPA-recognized lead test kit, must I test every component affected by the renovation? 

 

Answer: Yes.  Because certified renovator training does not cover sampling protocols, certified renovators using EPA-recognized lead test kits to determine the applicability of the RRP Rule must test each and every component that will be affected in order to determine that the RRP Rule does not apply to a particular renovation.