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DIY-sampling / lab analysis lead kits
You take the samples, send them to a lab for analysis, we tell you what the results mean
Why test for lead?
Test for lead around homes or workplaces to find out if either of them is the source of your or your children’s or pets’ elevated blood lead level (greater than 2 micrograms per decilitre). Not enough blood lead testing has been done to know for sure but it’s a fair assumption that the majority of Australians have a blood lead level above 2 micrograms per decilitre. Knowing where the lead is coming from allows you to remove the lead poisoned individual from the source or the source from their life, and thus to lower the blood lead level and reduce consequent health impacts, or even prevent early death from lead poisoning.
Test for lead if you want to prevent lead poisoning. Test for lead if you have any reason to suspect that it is present in the soil, dust, or paint in your house; particularly if you intend to renovate, and particularly if you have young children or intend having children. Test for lead in any source of water that doesn’t come from the mains supply: rainwater/tank water, bore water, dam water, ground water, or river water. Test any products you want to be sure do not contain the level or leachable form of lead that would make them unsafe for use. Such products may include children’s toys, jewellery, pewter, artificial turf, ceramic ware, PVC products and chewable kids bibs and clothing snaps and fasteners etc. If you are thinking of growing vegetables, or building a bird or pet enclosure, you will want to know if the soil contains too much lead.
Good samples to test for lead from this scene in an old house would include:
[Drawings by Anne Roberts]
We recommend that childcare centres use the kits to test that their equipment, play areas (artificial turf, soil etc) and toys are lead-safe. Landlords can be confident they are renting out lead-safe premises if they have used a kit to test dust on floors and windowsills, and in garden soil.
What would make you suspect that lead was present in the soil or dust or paint or drinking water or consumer product?
Lead is present in an astonishing number of materials, (see “Sources of Lead” ) but the greatest sources of lead particles in and around houses has been from paint and leaded petrol.
Paint: Any house painted before 1970 (in Australia, where this kit is mainly sold), or before 1978 in the USA, will almost certainly have been painted with paint containing lead, which, if removed or renovated without using lead-safe methods will leave lead dust or particles behind. If you’re not sure about dates, the sample kit will provide the answer as to how much lead is in the paint.
Leaded petrol This was phased out in Australia for on-road vehicles in 2002, but there is a legacy of leaded dust in ceiling voids and other building cavities, and in dust in the living space, especially in carpets, and in yards and gardens.
This lead dust from paint or petrol is the greatest source of lead which children are commonly exposed to in homes. However, sucking on or swallowing leaded jewellery has also caused fatal lead poisoning in children.
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Updated 06 August 2009