Saturday, April 5, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Lead Testing Kits

The media attention to lead-based paint in toys has quieted down, but toys are still being recalled for containing lead. You may be concerned that toys you have purchased simply haven't been recalled yet. Or maybe you know a product has been recalled, but you don't know if your toy was made in the batch that was recalled.

Can you test for lead in paint at home? Yes-maybe, but not very reliably.

Home testing kits are available for around $15, but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home testing kits are flawed. They may give false positives and false negatives, and they only work well on lighter paints. Dark paint may obscure test results. According to, Abotex's Lead Inspector Kit ($13) is reliable. But, since the CPSC didn't endorse it, I plan to rely on other methods, like the CPSC's recall list and getting rid of suspicious toys.