Lead surveys are a legal requirement for all commercial projects wherever paintwork is liable
to be disturbed, regardless of the age or type of building or structure involved.
Most paintwork is likely to have a lead content and the older the paintwork the higher that lead content
is likely to be, whatever the surface: timber, metal, plaster, plasterboard, tile or masonry.
Homes and schools are no different and should be treated with particular care given the likely presence of
young children and women of reproductive capacity, who may also be pregnant, during any lead exposure risk works.
Lead Survey Measurement
A professional lead survey should provide
the necessary data to allow a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of likely lead exposure risks. Portable XRF-isotope
(XRF-i) analysis for on-site non- destructive testing (NDT),
provides the most complete and cost-effective assessments to satisfy the requirement for pre-construction
information. These are required for all types of work on existing buildings and structures, including:
Painting & decorating
- Grit blasting & industrial painting
- Demolition &
- Repairs, maintenance & improvements (eg. window replacement, fire door upgrades; retro-fitting)
A lead survey may also include dust, soil and water sampling
in order to establish pre-works levels of lead containing materials (LCMs) other than paintwork. This helps to identify any
pre-works issues as well as to establish reference levels in case of any uncontrolled contamination release during a project.
For smaller commercial and domestic works, where a lead survey may not be considered the automatic
choice, a lower cost step-by-step approach may be preferable. Lead survey and paint testing expenditure can be targeted
in a way that is both appropriate and proportionate to the size and scope of a project.
The results from lead paint testing are very different to those provided
by the survey and measurement of the same materials.
1) 3M LeadCheck swabs
provide useful confirmation of the presence of lead (often to justify the need to commission a lead survey). They are a low
cost and easy-to-use chemical test that turns pink or red on contact with lead. Popular with DIYers, they are very useful
for identifying lead in paint but do not satisfy the legal requirement to quantify the amount of lead that may be present.
However, because they are NOT 100% reliable they should not be considered an alternative to the professional measurement required
for commercial projects. You can buy them at Brewers or ORDER HERE
3M LeadCheck swabs can be used to positively identify those areas where lead-containing paint
samples can be taken, thereby helping to limit professional analysis charges (see 2) and 3) below) to samples showing 'positive'
for lead. Remember that enough samples need to be taken in order to allow a 'suitable and sufficient' risk assessment
of the likely exposure risks to tradesmen and building occupants or residents.
'Traditional' laboratory methods, generally involving non-specialist physical 'scrape' sampling
for laboratory analysis and reporting, are of limited usefulness. As a result of poor and inconsistent sample quality,
even accredited analysis of samples 'as received' tends to result in under-reporting of actual lead hazards as found
on-site. In addition, their results based on 'Mass/Mass' analysis do not lend themselves to the 'Mass/Area'
data required for meaningful risk assessment.
3) Off-site XRF-isotope analysis
(XRF-i) provides 'lead survey' quality data, but for small batch analysis of intact paint samples submitted on their
Lead Dust Testing
Lead paint only
becomes an exposure risk when it is damaged or disturbed. It is only by inhaling or ingesting lead paint chips, and
lead dust or fume that exposure occurs.
Airborne lead dust can be sampled in order to identify
the presence of 'significant' task-specific exposure risks. It usually settles within 1-2 hours of being released.
Dust wipe sampling of settled surface contamination can then be used to confirm the presence of
an immediate lead exposure risk from inadvertent hand-to-mouth contact.
Lead Paint Test' uses dust wipe sampling to provide the best indicator of immediate exposure risks to homes and
families during DIY, refurbishment and building work.
this exposure risk is usually caused by the disturbance of lead-based paint* and/or lead-contaminated 'ceiling' dust.
(*Hence its description as a lead 'paint' test because people aren't aware of the greater relevance of dust testing.
Please email us for information: AVAILABLE HERE.