An important point is that a risk assessment identifies current lead-based paint hazards. New hazards may arise if lead-based paint is disturbed, damaged, or deteriorates.

If you want to know which painted surfaces contain lead-based paint and whether any lead-based hazards are present, you will need a combination inspection and risk assessment.

  • III. Lead Hazard Screen. A lead hazard screen is a limited version of a risk assessment for houses with a low chance of lead risks. In a lead hazard screen:

  • Any painted surfaces in a deteriorated condition are tested.

  • Two sets of dust samples are collected in a lead hazard screen. One set represents the floors and the other set represents the windows. Typically, there is less dust sampling in a lead hazard screen than in a risk assessment.

  • Usually soil samples are not collected in a lead hazard screen, with one exception. If there is evidence of paint chips in the soil from previous exterior repainting, then the soil should be sampled and tested.

The outcome of the lead hazard screen is either a conclusion that lead-based paint hazards are probably not present or a recommendation that a full risk assessment be conducted to determine if such hazards are present. In a lead hazard screen, only deteriorated paint is tested. Thus, a lead hazard screen cannot conclude there is no lead-based paint in the home.

A lead hazard screen is only recommended for residences that are generally in good condition, with little visible dust, and with paint in good condition (very little chipping or flaking). If not, the screen is likely to be a waste of time and money. In general, a lead hazard screen will be more useful in housing built after 1960.

As with a risk assessment, a lead hazard screen identifies current lead-based paint hazards. If there is lead-based paint in the home, new hazards may arise if that paint is disturbed, damaged, or deteriorates.

Who Can Do Lead Testing For Me? It is strongly recommended that testing be performed by a certified Inspector or certified Risk Assessor.

Certified Inspectors can perform only lead-based paint inspections.

Certified Risk Assessors can perform both risk assessments and lead hazard screens.

Your State may define the titles for lead-based paint professionals and the types of testing they can perform differently. You can find out by calling NLIC at 1-800-424-LEAD.

What Will The Testing Report Tell Me? That will depend on which approach has been used: inspection, risk assessment, or lead hazard screen. Request a sample report before the testing is done so that you may see what information will be provided and how it will be presented. You should also request that actual lead values (not just 'positive or 'negative classifications) be provided in the report as evidence that the testing was actually done.

  • I. Inspection Report. If you have an inspection done, you should receive a report that tells you which painted surfaces were tested and the test results for each surface. An inspection report will not tell you the condition of the lead-based paint or whether lead-based paint hazards exist.

  • II. Risk Assessment Report. If you have a risk assessment done, you will receive a report that tells you whether there are any lead-based paint hazards and recommends ways to reduce or control any hazards present.


The certified Risk Assessor will take into account the test results and the results of the visual inspection to decide if there are any lead-based paint hazards and how to control them. Lead-based paint hazards identified include lead-based paint in deteriorated condition or on surfaces mouthed by a child. In addition, house dust or bare soil with hazardous lead levels will be identified.

The certified Risk Assessor will provide a list of options for controlling each hazard. Options may include both interim controls and abatement. There is no EPA requirement for you to do anything to any lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards found when testing your home. However, if your home was built before 1978, you will be required to provide the test results to any renter or buyer when you lease or sell the home. For more information on the responsibilities of sellers, landlords and their agents, contact NLIC at 1-800-424-LEAD or visit www.epa.gov/lead.

  • Interim Controls - These are short-term or temporary actions. Examples include recommendations to repair deteriorated surfaces that contain lead-based paint, to clean house dust more frequently, or to plant grass or shrubs in areas with bare soil.

  • Abatement - These are long-term or permanent actions. Examples include replacing old windows, building a new wall over an existing one, or removing soil.

The certified Risk Assessor will also identify the probable source of the paint deterioration and determine whether other repairs are warranted. For example, a water leak may need to be repaired to prevent further damage to the paint.

  • III. Hazard Screen Report. If you have a lead hazard screen done, the report tells you either that there are probably no lead-based paint hazards in the house or that full-scale risk assessment is needed.

Do I Have To Do Anything After The Testing Is Completed? Be aware that there may be State or other requirements for action based on the test results. You can call NLIC at 1-800-424-LEAD for information about what is required in your locality before you start testing.

May I Abate Lead-Based Paint Hazards In My Own Home? If you decide to abate lead-based paint hazards in your own home, it is not recommended that you do the work yourself. Abatement activities must be done following careful procedures to prevent contamination of the home with lead dust. To be safe, hire a certified lead-based paint contractor (a certified professional who can do lead-based paint related abatement). Dust samples should be collected to check the thoroughness of the work.

Be aware that you must be certified yourself or you must hire a certified lead-based paint professional in the following cases: 1) if a child with a blood-lead level of 20 ug/dL (Pronounced micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood) or higher for a single venous test (or 15-19 ug/dL in two consecutive tests taken 3 to 4 months apart) lives in the house or 2) you own the house and rent it to someone else.

If you hire a firm to do testing for lead-based paint hazards, note that you are not under any obligation to hire the same firm to do the abatement. In fact, it would be better to have one firm conduct all testing and another firm conduct the abatement work. That will prevent a conflict of interest.

Be sure to maintain a record of the work to help during any future sale or rental of the home.

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