Lead Testing

lead testing

Table of Contents

Why Lead Testing Is Important

Lead is a toxic metal that can cause severe health issues, including developmental problems in children, fertility issues, and increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. The presence of lead in paint, soil, or water can pose a significant health risk, especially to children and pregnant women. Therefore, it’s crucial to test these elements to ensure they are free from lead contamination.

When To Test For Lead

If deterioration is present, or if a disturbance (renovation/repair/demolition) is planned, then a lead-based paint survey may be necessary, especially if you have children under 6 .

If a Notice of Violation (NOV) has been issued by the local department of public health, a certified lead-based paint abatement contractor should be hired to develop an abatement protocol and provide the abatement work necessary. American Air Testing can then be hired once the abatement work is complete to perform the validation testing necessary to satisfy the Notice of Violation.

If an Elevated Blood Lead Level (EBLL) has been established by a pediatrician in a child under the age of six.

Lead in Paint, Soil and Water Testing

Older homes and buildings in San Francisco often have layers of lead-based paint. Our team uses X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology to detect the presence of lead in paint accurately. We provide a detailed report and recommendations for lead paint removal or encapsulation.

Soil contamination can occur from various sources, including old paint chips, industrial waste, or contaminated water. Our soil testing services include sample collection and laboratory analysis to determine the lead levels in your property’s soil.

Lead can enter drinking water through corroded plumbing systems. We offer water testing services that include collecting samples from multiple points in your plumbing system and analyzing them for lead content. If we find elevated levels, we recommend immediate remedial actions.

Licensed, Insured, Experienced

  • Experienced Team: Our environmental inspectors are certified and have years of experience in lead testing.

  • Advanced Technology: We use the latest technology to provide accurate and reliable results.

  • Quick Turnaround: Get your results quickly so you can take any necessary preventive measures as soon as possible.

  • Local Expertise: Being based in San Francisco, we understand the local regulations and guidelines related to lead testing.

Lead Acceptable Levels

Various agency regulations give the following thresholds for lead levels:

Lead XRF Analysis

Results Expressed in: milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm²)

Regulatory Level: Surface is positive for lead if ≥ 1.0 mg/cm²

  • EPA Hazards Rule, CDPH Title 17 Applies to HUD, EPA, & CDPH
  • Negative XRF result is not proof of no quantifiable lead for OSHA & Cal/OSHA compliance purposes

Lead Dust Sampling

Results Expressed in: micrograms per square foot (µg/ft²)

Regulatory Level – Please see Title 17, EPA Hazard Rule

Risk Assessment

      Floors: ≥ 40 µg/ft²

      Interior Window Sills (EPA) and Horizontal Surfaces (CDPH): ≥ 250 µg/ft²

Clearance Testing

       Floors: ≥ 40 µg/ft²

       Interior Window Sills (EPA) and Horizontal Surfaces (CDPH): ≥ 250 µg/ft²

       Window Troughs (EPA) and Exterior Horizontal Surfaces (CDPH): ≥ 400 µg/ft²

Lead Soil Sampling

Results Expressed in: parts per million (ppm)

Regulatory Level – Please see Title 17, EPA Hazard Rule

(CDPH) ≥ 400 ppm is hazard in child play area.

(CDPH) ≥ 1000 ppm is hazard in non-child play area.

(EPA & HUD) ≥ 400 ppm is hazard in child play area.

(EPA & HUD) ≥ 1200 ppm is hazard in non-child play area.

Lead Water Sampling

Results Expressed in: parts per billion (ppb)

Regulatory Level: EPA sets drinking water at ≥ 15 ppb.

Lead Drinking Water Testing for Child Care Centers


  1. Jacobs DE, Clickner RP, Zhou JY, Viet SM, Marker DA, Rogers JW, Zeldin DC, Broene P, Friedman W. The prevalence of lead-based paint hazards in U.S. housing. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Oct;110(10):A599-606. doi: 10.1289/ehp.021100599. PMID: 12361844; PMCID: PMC1241046. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241046/

Lead NOV Help

If you have received a Notice of Violation from the local building department a physician has tested a child and found an elevated level of lead. This may not always be the case, but it is usually the case. California law requires both physicians and environmental consultants to report all lead testing results to the California Department of Health.

We can help with any kind of NOV from the Building Department; lead NOVs are the most common.