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Exploring the Drawbacks and Problems with DIY Lead Testing Kits

Older buildings offer heaps of charm and of course there are numerous environmental benefits to retrofitting an older building versus building new. However, older buildings can also test your last nerve when you realize that they could contain paint manufactured long before 1976, which was when the Canadian government officially banned lead in paint.

Lead can be released from paint when it is disturbed, chipping or flaking, and contribute to health problems that range from anemia to brain and nervous system damage.

Many building owners and homeowners enjoy the convenience of using a DIY lead testing kit that can be purchased from any home improvement or hardware store, but there are some serious drawbacks and problems to consider if you intend to test the paint in your residential or commercial building for lead.


First, the results you get from a DIY lead testing kit can be at best inaccurate and at worst, hazardous.

Although they are an inexpensive option for concerned business owners and homeowners, there have been many documented causes of these home lead assessment kits showing false negatives, false positives and overall high error rates. These can lead you to make decisions—ones that will potentially affect the health of your children and family—based on incorrect information.

If you’re concerned enough to test your old paint for lead, your best bet is to hire a professional licensed, certified lead inspector/assessor to ensure the test results are accurate and to ensure you can rely on them to make your buying or renovating decisions.


Home lead testing kits also require skill and practice to ensure a reliable result.

It’s not enough to simply swipe the testing swab against a wall, you may need to expose several layers of old paint to get an appropriate testing surface. This can take special care, skill and a lot of patience.


Lastly, correctly reading the resulting colour change that indicates whether lead is or is not present can be awkward and difficult. Colour changes can be particularly difficult to perceive if lead levels are low because these often result in an incomplete colour change.


Do you suspect lead paint in your aging or older residential or commercial building? We offer a variety of both commercial and residential lead paint testing and removal services.

Ensure reliable lead testing results by contacting a professional lead inspector/assessor today at 416-575-6111.


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