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FAQ of Environmental Testing In Ithaca, Binghamton, Finger Lakes, NY

Frequently Asked Questions About Environmental Testing

My home was built after 1978. Do I even need to be concerned with lead-based paint?

According to the EPA, only houses built BEFORE 1978 are considered target housing for Lead Based Paint. However, we do see older, salvaged or antique components used in newer homes as well as decorative pieces that contain lead-based paint.

How do I know if there is lead in the paint inside my home?

While most homes built before 1978 do contain Lead Based Paint, the only way to know for sure is to have testing done.

Are there over-the-counter testing options available?

There are test kits that you can buy to help indicate if there is lead present on a painted surface, but the only way to know how much lead is there (i.e. enough to be considered poisonous), is to have XRF testing done by a certified Risk Assessor.

What is the average cost of testing?

Testing can range from $250 - $1200 dollars depending on the size of the house and scope of testing required.

How long does a lead-based paint test take?

The testing process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the size of the house and the scope of the testing.

What do I need to do to prepare for testing?

Please ensure any animals that might try to escape during testing or are aggressive to strangers are put in a secure place before the assessor’s arrival. And if there are any areas in particular that you wish to have tested, please make sure you have a clear path to those spaces and that you let the assessor know you'd like them tested.

Do I need to vacate the home while testing is done?

You do not need to leave while testing is done. The testing can be educational, and homeowners are encouraged to be present and ask questions while the testing is done.

Do you need to remove pieces of my walls or windows in order to test them?

No. The testing is done with specialized equipment (an XRF device) that is simply pressed against the surface to be tested and a reading is taken. There is no surface disruption necessary and no paint chip samples taken.

What is an XRF device?

An XRF or X-Ray Fluorescence device is a piece of equipment specially designed for the purpose of measuring and recording the levels of lead in a painted surface.

How reliable are the results?

Extremely. This testing method is examined and approved by the federal government Housing & Urban Development authority for accuracy and reliability.

Will you share the results with me?

Of course. If a homeowner is present, they can receive verbal results as they come in. Everyone will get a copy of the report showing locations and results for all readings taken during the test. Dust wipe samples are delivered with the report as they must be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

My house tested positive for lead paint. What do I do now?

That depends. Having lead in your paint doesn't mean you are necessarily in danger of being poisoned by it. In order for a surface with lead-based paint to be considered a hazard, it also has to be in "deteriorated" condition. This means that the paint covering the surface is peeling, chipping or in some way able to allow access to painted layers underneath it or to chips that can be ingested.

Must I have the whole house repainted or can I just address the areas that tested positive?

You can just address the areas that are positive and in deteriorated condition. This can be as simple as spot painting to cover areas that are chipped or to help areas with peeling paint stay attached to the surface.

Can I just clean the house really well and repaint on my own?

Yes! You can do whatever you want in your own home. However, someone who has not had the training to work with lead-based paint and the methods used to clean it up, may run the risk of making an issue worse by spreading the dust around to other parts of the house by traditional cleaning methods.

The areas that tested positive have been renovated. Do I need to do anything now?

You don't have to do anything if you don't want to. However, we do recommend having clearance testing done to ensure that lead dust has not been left behind from the work.

Can lead dust be found only in my paint?

Lead dust can be found anywhere. It is caused by degrading lead-based paint and can be distributed throughout a home by foot traffic, pet paws and heating system ductwork, among other ways.

Where else can lead be found on my property?

While lead in paint is the major concern for older housing, you can also find lead (mostly from chipping paint) in the soil around the house (dripline) and soil in areas of yards and gardens. Older homes with outdated water service can also have lead supply lines as well as lead in water supply fittings.

Do I need to retest my home periodically?

If you had a full house "survey" done, meaning that all rooms were tested, you don't have to do anything more. It is recommended that you have any components that are uncovered due to renovation tested if they weren't able to be tested the first time. It can also be beneficial to have documentation of any lead components that are removed from the home during renovation. This can be a great selling point to a future owner.