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Testing for lead in an older home

I took the city up on its offer of a free lead testing kit while at Hoot-n-Annie the other day. We fit the criteria (living in a home older than 1978). Our house was built in 1942. I love it but I'm sure there are layers and layers of lead-based paint on our walls. The good news (I think) is that our house has been very well maintained. There's not tons of flaking paint chips or anything. But testing for lead is still kind of scary. Obviously, we'll have to do something about it if the test comes back with dire warnings.

Lead_test The test itself is very easy. You wipe two places in your home with some moist towelettes. You need to swipe near a door in a room where your children play, and on a window sill in your children's bedroom. The test took me about 10 minutes to complete. Once you're done, you put the wipes in test tubes, stuff the test tubes in a postage paid envelope and wait for your results. It takes a few weeks for the lab to process and send your results back. So now we wait.

They also gave us a informational coloring book about lead hazards. My kids love these kind of things. I was surprised to learn that you shouldn't eat snow because it can contain lead. I never knew that. Oh, the piles of snow I ate in my snowy Midwestern childhood... It's lucky my kids don't get a lot of snow-eating opportunities here in Oregon. And we've all learned of the horrors of lead-based paints on toys in the news. But I also learned that dirt and dust can also contain lead. So don't eat those either!

Have you tested for lead in your home? How did you get the lead out?


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