Lead Hazards Assessment and Testing

If your home or apartment building was built before 1978, there is a good chance it contains Lead-Based Paint (LBP). While the Federal Government banned consumer uses of lead-based containing paint in 1978, LBP is still present in millions of homes, apartments, daycare centers and schools. In Particular, more than half of New York City residential buildings were built before lead paint was banned – many of which still have LBP on their walls, windows, doors and other surfaces (NYCDOH).

Kaltech Environmental Services is fully knowledgeable with and is US EPA licensed to perform lead hazard assessments and to test for lead levels equal to or above the legal limits of in suspect paint, dust, toys, soil, cosmetics, water, spices, foods and other consumer products. When coupled with state-of-the-art XRF technology, and paint chip sampling using NLLAP certified laboratories, KES provides for the most accurate results possible. KES is EPA licensed to perform lead-based paint activities, including risk assessments and testing, in all US States, Tribal Lands and Territories.

Because Kaltech does not undertake any lead-based paint encapsulation or abatement activities, its investigation, testing and sampling methodologies, findings and conclusions are completely unbiased and are free of any perceived or real conflicts-of-interest.

Lead-Based Paint Risk Assessment

As EPA licensed risk assessors, KES can perform an on-site lead-based paint risk assessment to determine the presence, type, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards and provide suggested ways to control them. Risk assessments can be legally performed only by EPA certified risk assessors, which differs from EPA certified inspectors, who cannot legally give you advice on how to best control lead-based paint risk or abatement measures.

Lead-Based Paint X-Ray Fluorescence

KES utilizes state-of-the art, thermoelectrically-cooled, cadmium telluride (CdTe) diode detector X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) gun to test for elemental metals - particularly lead (Pb). XRF analyzers provide fast, nondestructive elemental analysis for lead in paint, drywall, plaster, wood, brick, concrete metal and more. Each XRF test is calibrated and checked against paint film nearest to 1.0 mg/cm2 (legal limitation for LPB) in the NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM).

Lead-Based Paint Chip Sampling

The objective of paint chip sampling is to capture and quantify lead levels from paint chips present on different substrates and to assess whether the lead levels present are above the legal limits or to suggest a lead problem prior to renovations or abatement. Paint chip analysis can be very accurate when the sample is correctly collected. KES licensed inspectors are specially trained to remove paint chip samples such that the sample includes all the paint layers of the tested surface but no wood, plaster, or other material underneath the paint.

Lead Dust Wipe Clearance Sampling

Dust wipe clearance testing is required to ensure appropriate clean-up was conducted after work that disturbed known or presumed lead-based paint. Dust wipe clearance testing is a requirement whether the work is in response to a NYCDOH violation, a Department of Housing Preservation and Development violation, or any repair or renovation work that disturbs more than two square feet of paint in a building built prior to 1960, and where the presumption of lead-based paint applies and a child under age six resides.

Dust wipe clearance testing does not determine the presence of lead-based paint that is several layers below the surface, but does show whether there is lead in the settled dust following friction surface contact or remodeling/repair work. Specially trained KES Inspectors can take single dust wipe samples from one surface or they can perform composite sampling whereby several wipes of the same surfaces (e.g. floors, window sills, window troughs). In either scenario, KES will send the collected samples to an NLLAP certified laboratory for analysis. There are a number of agencies that have claimed jurisdiction over dust wipe clearance threshold, including the US Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYDOH), which recently, as of June 12, 2019, announced the strictest clearance thresholds in the country.

Lead Soil Sampling

Soil can also have high levels of lead. The highest levels of lead is generally found in soil closest to the surface (top 2.5 cm or 1 inch) and closest to the street. Lead in soil can be a major hazard because children generally play outside in the soil and can get lead-containing dust or dirt on their hands, clothes, and toys and ingest the soil. The US EPA has concluded that high levels of lead in soil is dangerous and has established that a soil-lead hazard is present if the level of lead in bare residential soil is at or above 400 parts per million in a play area or an average of 1,200 ppm or higher lead in other bare areas of a yard. While neither the US Housing & Urban Development (HUD) or the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require soil sampling after abatement or rehabilitation work, parents or those who care of children under 6 years of age, may want to test for lead in soil when lead-related work was done on the outside of a house or building or if lead-painted debris was stored on the property.