Lead Paint Test Kit

Lead detection kits designed to detect the presence of lead in house paint are available in many hardware stores.  The kit is useful to people removing paint (i.e., conservators restoring historic buildings, homeowners renovating apartments and houses) and in identifying areas where lead paint has been applied.  A sodium sulfide solution is applied to a chip of paint and a color change indicates the presence of lead.  The kit is reliable up to 2% lead by weight depending upon the thickness of the coat of lead paint.  This level of reliability is acceptable in the detection of lead in house paints since most leaded house paints have high lead content.

Experts suggest that the paint chip be taken from as close to the wood as possible and the solution applied in many places on the paint chip in order to get the most accurate reading.

Art Hazard News, Volume 13, No. 6, 1990

This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts 1990. It appears on nontoxicprint courtesy of the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, who have curated a collection of these articles from their archive which are still relevant to artists today.