Lead Testing


Lead Testing Status Or Surveys

Lead-based paint is present in most buildings in San Francisco built before 1979. In all other California areas the cutoff year is 1978.

To know exactly where this lead is located you need a lead status or survey from a professional, licensed lead inspector.

There are three ways of testing for lead in paint:

  1. Surface sampling can be performed by using a Pb200i XRF Lead Paint Analyzer. This takes a reading of any painted surface and gives an instant result. This sampling can go under multiple layers of paint without any disturbance.
  2. Paint chip sampling can be performed by taking a bulk piece of paint and having it analyzed at a lab.
  3. Dust sampling can be performed by taking lead wipe samples. This kind of sampling should be done if there is any possibility of lead dust.


Lead testing may also be needed in the soils surround a building that has failing lead-based paint. This is especially important if children under seven years of age play or frequent the soil area or if edible plants are grown in adjacent soil

If you have an at-risk child in an older home that may have lead solders on plumbing pipes that supply drinking water, then lead water testing to prevent lead poisoning is highly recommended. Childhood mental retardation from lead is often permanent. Consider that you may not be able to see all the plumbing joints in an older home.

If you are buying or renting (landlord or tenant) an older property in San Francisco, you will be given a standard HUD form regarding the presence of lead-based paint. Your  seller or landlord will provide this document to you with your lease or closing documents. Read it – keep your children safe.

If you have a child under 7 years of age living in a building built before 1979 in San Francisco you are probably dealing with lead dust. Children crawl and play in lead dust. They put their hands in their mouths. Lead is sweet, so they go back for more.  Please don’t wait for your Pediatrician or other medical professional to notify you of an elevated blood lead level in your child.

How To Clean Up Lead Dust

It is unrealistic to expect every older residential building to be lead free. Instead of engaging in an unwinnable fight with your landlord or seller, please follow the simple steps to keep your child/children safe from brain damage due to lead-based paint. It takes just a few minutes per day.

Take a Swiffer-type mop and go over the floor below and immediately beside all doors. Take a damp wipe (water on a paper towel works) and wipe the window sills. Wipe in one direction. Wipe ONCE and discard. Don’t go back and forth – that doesn’t work. Seal the mop cloth and paper towels in a plastic bag to discard. Wear gloves and/or wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning.

If you have received a lead paint SFDBI Notice of Violation for Lead-based Paint we can help. We are on the City’s approved list and have years of experience working with the lead-based paint department. Don’t ignore this Notice. It’s like a parking ticket; a minor annoyance to pay, but a very expensive hassle if you ignore it. Please keep in mind this set of laws about lead dust is intended to keep children safe.

We use a XRF Analyzer to identify lead-based paint that may be present on any level; regardless of how many coats of paint are on top of the visible layer.

A licensed environmental lab is used to analyze soil and lead dust clearance samples.

Lead Testing Peace Of Mind

A new baby is entering your home!  Of course you want to be sure it’s completely safe!

If your home was built after 1978/1979 in San Francisco you probably don’t have lead-based paint. However, we have seen some remodels that didn’t remove all the sources of lead in paint from your building or from your water source. Professional lead testing is the only way to know for sure.

Lead can be found in water from old galvanized plumbing fittings that leach lead. The older fittings can’t always be seen.

We are licensed and insured to test for lead in California.

Lead testing Clearance

To satisfy a Lead Notice of Violation you will need lead clearance from a Lead Related Construction Inspector Assessor licensed inspector. This license is issued by the California Department of Health.

If you are a building owner or property manager, lead clearance is highly recommended after an abatement before the space is reoccupied.

Rush service is available.

Read more about Lead Notices of Violation

Read more about the Lead in Drinking Water

Link to the SFDBI Lead-based Paints Safe Work Practices

Find a licensed Lead Abatement Contractor