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Worries about lead paint in kitchen cabinets

I have 40+ year old kitchen cabinets that are in bad shape. They were originally varnished, and now are so worn that I have several bald, rough patches.

I want to paint the cabinets while we wait to be able to afford new ones. Because of the age of the cabinets, I'm concerned about the presence of lead paint when I go to the sanding process. The cabinets appear to be varnished, not painted, so I'm unsure about the presence of lead. I know that some chemicals (like liquid deglosser) can accomplish the same task, but I don't know what would be less safe--heavy chemicals, or the possibility of releasing lead dust into the air.

Any advice as I look towards this project would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

Fred Hanks
Re: Worries about lead paint in kitchen cabinets
Fred Hanks

There are unexpensive lead test kits on the market such as painting supply stores that you can use to do your own testing. They not 100 percent but are capable of taking most of the doubt whether lead is present.
One in praticular is a small glass vial you brake and apply with a attached applicator. If it turns orange than there is a possible lead residue.
Good Luck!

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