XRF Lead Testing Is the Best Way to Inspect a Home to Meet EPA’s RRP

A residential remodeling company recently contacted us to complete a HUD-level lead-based paint inspection at a residence in Beaverton, Oregon. The request for this type of inspection came during renovations that the residential remodeling company was making to the home but before they completed an entire home renovation.

The purpose of the lead-based paint inspection was to make the remodeling firm aware of the general distribution of lead in the house. This was necessary to meet requirements set forth by the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) and guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These regulations apply to residences and all facilities occupied by children. XRF Lead Testing  is the best way to inspect homes efficiently and throughly in order to make sue the guidelines have been meet.

In order for the inspection to be representative of the entire house, it must be performed by a licensed EPA lead inspector and use an industry-recognized sampling approach. The EPA’s RRP requires that workers who may potentially disturb lead-based paint during home renovations be certified and trained in the use of lead-safe work practices. The rule also requires renovation, repair, and painting firms to be EPA-certified.

The EPA warns that this is necessary because, in a home or apartment built before 1978, unqualified workers could spread lead paint dust throughout the entire dwelling, even if they’re only performing a small job. Lead exposure is a danger to:

  • Children: Lead exposure can result in lower intelligence, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities.
  • Pregnant Women: Lead paint dust can harm developing fetuses.
  • All Adults: Lead paint dust can negatively affect the nervous system and kidneys and cause high blood pressure and fertility problems.

What is XRF Lead Testing?

An X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device was used to collect readings of the lead content of interior and exterior painted surfaces in over 180 locations throughout the residence.

An XRF device uses radioactive waves to find and determine how much lead is in paint. Technicians are trained on how to use the device safely and avoid radiation exposure. XRF lead testing is a preferred method to test for lead because the devices used are convenient and usually don’t disturb the painted surfaces being tested.

In addition to collecting XRF readings from the interior and exterior of the house, a Healthy Home professional performed a room-by-room inspection of the home, collecting readings of each testing combination (walls, doors, windows, etc.) in each room as set forth in HUD’s Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing.

XRF Lead Testing Results

A lead reading from XRF Lead Testing of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter or above is considered positive for the presence of lead-based paint according to HUD’s guidelines and the EPA. “Lead-containing paint” refers to instances where XRF readings indicate lead is present but is determined to be below the level of 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter.

Lead-based paint readings over 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter were detected in the home’s exterior screen door and exterior siding. Lead-containing paint at levels below 1.0 milligrams per square centimeter was also found on several tested components.

Recommendations for the Home Renovation Firm

Our report included several recommendations for the home renovation firm to consider. Recommendations for the future include attention to the following:

  • As the firm continues to renovate the home, workers should keep in mind that if they encounter additional materials that weren’t included in this inspection, those materials should be presumed to include lead-based paint until testing proves otherwise.
  • Components that tested positive for lead-containing paint could create lead dust or lead-contaminated soil hazards if the paint is turned to dust by abrasion, scraping or sanding.
  • The firm should also give our report to any contractors who perform work in the home so they are informed of the potential hazards involved.

We also provided a brief outline that can be used as a guideline for the stabilization and maintenance of potential lead hazards in accordance with guidelines and requirements set forth by HUD and EPA’s RRP.

Healthy Home’s Team of Certified and Licensed Professionals

Using an unlicensed contractor to deal with lead-based paint in your home can waste a lot of unnecessary time and additional expenses. We have a team of Oregon certified and licensed lead-based paint inspectors and risk assessors available to help homeowners and home renovation firms meet governmental requirements and follow safe practices. Contact us today to schedule your lead-based paint inspection.

Dan Rouse