How To Detect Lead Poisoning

Amidst the lead paint recalls, parents are turning to home-based lead test kits to protect their children and families from lead poisoning.

Types of kits vary, but most work by applying a substance or swab to a suspected object, then watching for a color change.

Deborah Reff, manager of the health education unit of the childhood lead poisoning program at the county health department, told the Los Angeles Times she recommended LeadCheck Swabs and Lead Inspector.

However, if it shows up positive, it doesn’t mean it has lead, and if it shows up negative, doesn’t mean it doesn’t either.

Blood tests are the only fool proof method to test for lead poisoning. Some local health departments offer free blood tests.

Likewise, professional labs are the best determinants of lead contaminated toys. Watch for recall updates.

Concerned parents may not feel like waiting for the government to tell them what has lead in it. Children absorb up to 50% of the lead they encounter, vs. 10% for adults. Exposure to lead can lead to long-term neurological defects, and in extreme cases, death.


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  1. VeryPlainJane says:

    I just want to correct something. Lead test are only free in some (a really small number) health departments. My local health dept charges $45.

  2. says:

    You can get these at some home improvement stores, too, although which stores and how much I am not sure.

    I’ve also heard recommendations to use these on insulated lunch bags (like you might send your kids to school with, or take to work?) — many of THOSE have lead as well.

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    So, umm, just asking… Are these Lead Test kits made in… China?

  4. gibsonic says:

    haha…beat me to it. my thoughts exactly.

  5. gibsonic says:

    it appears they are made in the USA…whew!