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lead paint--effectiveness of XRF

We've just purchased a 1941 coop apartment in Brooklyn. We had it tested for lead by an EPA accredited inspector with an XRF machine, and the test results were all negative except for the front door and a heating pipe in the bathroom.

I went ahead and arranged for the walls to be replastered (skim coated) and painted, specifically asking the painters not to touch the door or the pipe. Now, however, I'm nervous all of a sudden about how effective the XRF tests really are. I have a 2-year-old and I'm pregnant, and am wondering whether I should get the place tested again post-painting, just to be safe.

thanks for your advice!

Re: lead paint--effectiveness of XRF

I am afraid I can't help you with advice about XRF machines as I haven't heard of them before. However I certainly will give you some practical advice. I am sure before you hired the contractor who did the inspection of your home you checked on that person or at the very least asked to see that persons license. So I would think that that person might have known what they were doing and you don't have anything to worry about.
That being said though before you start painting ask your painters to buy a lead test kit or go and buy one yourself. Lead test kits are widely available at either the Home Depot or Loews or about any other small independant hardware store in the country. The instructions too are straight forward and very easy to follow if you want to test your walls and trim yourself.
What you really need to be most concerned about though are window sills and door frames especially anywhere a child might put his or her mouth so don't worry about anything higher than three or four feet high. I think though that everything will be fine but to ease your mind go ahead and test, it is cheap and quick and simple. Afterwards sit back and relax it will be best for you and your child and good luck to you!:)

Re: lead paint--effectiveness of XRF

XRF is just as effective, if not better, than other lead paint detection methods. In XRF (X-ray Fluorescence)used for lead paint analysis in the field, energy from the handheld unit strikes the surface of the paint and travels into it a very short distance. This energy causes x-rays to be produced by the atoms of many chemical elements (e.g. from the periodic table) in the paint. The handheld unit detector and internal computer then sort these into peaks with specific energy (which tells you which chemical elements you have-like lead), and calculates how big the peaks are (which tells you how much of each element is there).

The nice thing about XRF is you can test any number of spots. Unlike methods where you remove a chip and dissolve it, for example, XRF detects lead nearer to the surface. This is, I believe, what is most dangerous. Lead trapped below the surface behind non-lead based paint is not an issue as long as the paint is not peeling or currently being sanded.

From what I understand, if you have surfaces in question that are in good condition, and they are high enough that a toddler won't chew on them (or inaccessible), painting over them is suitable.

I suggest checking the EPA website for more info @

Good luck!



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