Lead can be found in water, soil, air, and building materials. To test for lead in your drinking water or soil, contact ARA or a certified laboratory in your area. To test for lead in a home or building (especially if built before 1978), you must call a certified lead inspector or risk assessor (FMI: www.epa.gov/lead)

 

Lead FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about Lead, Lead Testing & Lead Poisoning

Is Lead Dangerous?

At certain levels, lead can be harmful to human health if it enters the body (via eating, drinking, or breathing lead particles). Lead from paint and lead-contaminated dust is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here is no safe blood lead level (BLL) in children. 

 

How Do You Test For Lead?
Lead can be found in water, soil, air, and building materials. To test for lead in your drinking water or soil, contact ARA or a certified laboratory in your area. To test for lead in a home or building (especially if built before 1978), you must call a certified lead inspector or risk assessor (FMI: www.epa.gov/lead).

 

ARA's lead services include: certified analysis of lead in water, soil, paint chips, dust wipes and air filters, including performing TCLP for disposal requirements, Lead Inspections (NH VT ME), Lead Clearance Testing (NH VT ME), Lead Surveys, Sample Collection, and Certified Lab Analysis.

 

If you need to test environmental samples collected from a lead inspection, lead risk assessment, lead hazard screen, or lead abatement clearance, those samples must be analyzed by an EPA accredited NLLAP laboratory (NLLAP = National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program). ARA partners with NLLAP labs in the area, or you can find a list of nationwide NLLAP labs on this list:

 

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-06/documents/nllap.pdf

 

To test your blood for lead, called a “lead screening test,” contact your health provider or state health department.

 

What Is A Lead Screening Test?
A lead screening test is a blood test to determine the concentration, if any, of lead in a blood sample. Many states, including NH, require a Lead Screening Test for young children. FMI on the lead rules in your state, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/programs/default.htm

 

Why Is Lead Testing Important? 

At certain levels, lead can be harmful to human health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body, especially in children. Children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from brain / nervous system damage, behavior and learning problems, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches. Adults with high lead levels can suffer from reproductive problems, high blood pressure, hypertension, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain.

 

When Should Lead Screening Be Done?

Many states, including NH, require a Lead Screening Test for all young children ages 6 and under. FMI on lead screenings in your state visit: this weblink: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/programs/default.htm, or talk to your family doctor.  Homes and buildings built before 1978 are very likely to contain lead paint, so if you live or work in such a building, or if you suspect lead exposure related to your job, you may want to have your blood lead levels tested.  If you consume water from a private well, it is recommended that you test your water for lead and other harmful contaminants every few years. If your drinking water test results indicate high levels of lead, you may want to get a BLL lead screening for you and your family.

 

What Is A Normal Lead Level?
From 2009 to 2015, the definition for an elevated blood lead level was ten or more micrograms per deciliter (10 μg/dL). In 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lowered this standard for adults (age 16+) to 5 μg/dL. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no safe blood lead level for children. FMI visit this CDC weblink:

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/advisory/acclpp/actions-blls.htm

 

Can Lead Be Absorbed Through Skin?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only lead compounds that easily penetrate the skin are the additives in leaded gasoline, which is no longer available to the average consumer. The general public is not likely to encounter lead that can enter through the skin.

 

Is It Safe To Live In A House With Lead Paint?
A critical question to consider in terms of lead and human safety is whether or not children will be occupying the space, becuase as stated earlier, there is no safe BLL in children. Lead paint can still be found in millions of homes and buildings, often under layers of new paint. According to the EPA, unless the paint is deteriorating or subject to frequent wear and tear (i.e., door jams, windows/windowsills, stairs), it often does not present a serious problem. However, renovation and repair projects can disturb lead paint and lead dust, and precautions should always be taken to minimize exposure. 

 

To test for lead paint and lead dust in a home or building (especially if built before 1978 and/or if occupied by children), it is very important that you call a certified lead inspector or risk assessor If you find that you have lead paint which you need to remove, be sure you hire a Lead Safe Renovator. We do not recommend DIY (do-it-yourself) for Lead Paint, but if you do decide to tackle the project yourself, make sure you follow the safety protocols recommended/required in your state. Here are a few great resources for homeowners: 

 

  • Video on Lead-Safe Certified Remodeling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-3U1pcSIyg

  • EPA Pamphlet "Protect Your Family From Lead": 

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-04/documents/lead-in-your-home-portrait-color-2020-508.pdf