The Hazards of Lead Based Paint


Lead is toxic to human beings and our pets and its presence in the body can cause a wide variety of issues and symptoms including abdominal pain, confusion and over time, even seizures and death. It’s known to be particularly toxic in the case of children, which is what makes lead-based paint so problematic.


Lead (known as Pb on the periodic table of elements) is a naturally occurring element found in rock and soil. It was once used extensively in a wide variety of products including interior and exterior paints in residential and commercial buildings.


With smaller children, what’s on the fingers ends up in the mouth. Lead can get into your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead. Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in North America. Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.



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Residential & Commercial Lead Based Paint Sampling


You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard. Deteriorating paint can contaminate soil and removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger.


Sampling and Testing for Lead Based Paint in Toronto


Some laboratories and environmental suppliers have available a “do it yourself” kit to aid in testing for the presence of lead-based paint. Although this method is the most inexpensive it is not 100% reliable. There have been cases of both false positive results and false negative results.

The three acceptable methods of testing paint for lead are XRF analysis and paint chip analysis. They may be used separately, or in combination:


XRF Analysis uses an electronic instrument to read whether there is lead in the paint and is considered 95% reliable. Results are reported in milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm 2). It has to be used by a licensed, certified lead inspector/assessor.


Paint Chip Analysis is performed by an accredited lab of a measured amount of lead-containing paint, e.g., a 2″ x 2″ section of paint.