Recent Articles

Lead Paint - Why You Need Testing


Beginning April 22, 2010, federal law required that contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb more than six square feet of paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be trained, certified, and meet all Lead Safe Work Practices to prevent lead-based paint dust contamination.

Approximately 75 percent of homes in the Seattle area built prior to 1978 contain at least some lead paint. The likelihood that lead paint was used in a home increases with the structure’s age. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 19 million homes present lead-based paint hazards, and 4 million of these homes house children under the age of 6.

Lead paint inspections are a surface-by-surface investigation for lead-based paint. Pacific Northwest Inspections Group's Lead Consultants Lead Inspection includes testing for Lead Paint in all accessible interior rooms and all sides of the Exterior. Our testing is conducted using an XRF analyzer which uses an X-ray to detect lead-based paint. Benefits of XRF are: No cutting of paint chips, no laboratories, and no touchup painting Immediate, accurate instant results. We’ll tell you if there is any lead on-site with Safe effective testing. Since we don’t cut or score the wall paint, we eliminate exposing paint and creating a Lead hazard. Upon completion of our Lead Paint Survey, we provide a comprehensive report. The report will detail by room and component where if any, lead paint was identified and is valid for the life of the structure.

Lead in the home can cause serious long-term health problems, particularly for children, making it imperative for those living in pre-1978 homes to get lead testing. Lead exposure is dangerous to children even before they are born. Lead is a neurotoxin affecting the development and function of the central nervous system, red blood cells, and kidneys. Even low levels can be harmful. Lead exposure may lead to decreased intelligence, speech problems, attention deficit disorder, and learning disabilities. Poor muscle coordination, impaired bone and muscle growth, and hearing damage are other potential effects of lead exposure.


Contact with high levels of lead is more serious, with the potential for unconsciousness, seizures, and even death. Children can ingest lead-based paint in a number of ways. Deteriorating paint often flakes off in loose chips and dust. When children swallow these materials, they can develop lead poisoning. Lead dust easily collects on baby bottles, toys, and children’s hands. Sources of lead may include any areas with peeling and chipped paint such as window sills, doors, and walls, as well as soil around the house and lead water pipes or lead solder.

Adults who are exposed to lead may experience high blood pressure, fertility problems, nerve disorders, digestive problems, difficulty concentrating, and joint and muscle pain. Those involved in remodeling older homes risk lead exposure as older layers of paint are disturbed during the renovation process. Lead dust can be picked up on skin, hair, and clothing and transferred to other family members. There are several ways to test for lead in the home. You may take samples and send them to a lab, or you may obtain a do-it-yourself kit. Another method involves hiring professionals who are trained in the use of specialized equipment.

Besides making a visual inspection of lead-based paint location and condition, an inspector will use X-ray fluorescence or XRF. An XRF is a portable X-ray device capable of seeing through surfaces to detect any lead underneath. The inspector may also collect dust, paint, and soil samples for submission to a lab. Testing is especially important in situations where paint is deteriorating or when pregnant women, babies, and children live in a pre-1978 home. Once testing has been completed, action can be taken to protect the health of the home’s occupants.

Contaminated items will be replaced and the problematic paint covered with gypsum wallboard or sealant. Professionals can even remove the lead paint completely. It is especially important to keep the home’s occupants out of the area until the job is completed. The time and effort involved in removing lead hazards from the home are well worth it when you consider the cost of lead contamination to the health and well-being of the people who come into contact with it.

Inspectors are required by law to be State Certified. Call us for testing in your home or office 425.608.9553. Serving Seattle, Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Renton, Kent, Bothell, Bellevue, Medina, and all of Puget Sound King County.

Risk Assessment and Lead Inspection

The table below shows the differences between the two types of investigations and why we require both to be done.

What's the Difference between a Risk Assessment and a Lead Inspection?

All of our inspectors carry the Lead Risk Assessors certification. This additional training allows us to not only perform lead testing, it allows us to discuss any of the risks associated with different building materials in your home. Standard lead inspectors are only allowed to collect samples and cannot provide advice or recommendations. Without the ability to provide recommendations, the value of lead testing is very limited.

Analysis, Content or Use Risk Assessment LBP Inspection Combination
Paint Deteriorated paint only Surface-by-surface Surface-by-surface includes deteriorated paint
Dust Yes Optional Yes
Bare Soil Yes, when locality indicates the possibility of soil lead hazards Optional Yes, when locally indicated
Water Optional Optional Optional
Air No No No
Maintenance Status Optional No Optional
Management Policies and Procedures Optional No Optional
Review of Previous Paint Testing Yes Yes Yes
Typical Uses 1. Interim controls
2. Building nearing the end of expected life
3. Sale of property or turnover
4. Documentation of absence of lead hazards for insurance or state requirements
1. Abatement
2. Renovation work
3. Weatherization
4. Sale of property or turnover
5. Remodeling or repainting
1. Addresses the presence of LBP and hazards in a comprehensive manner
2. Generates data for decision-making where both interim controls and abatement strategies may be used in building
3. May be more cost-effective than separate investigations
Final Report Generated Lead Hazard Control Plan including options for Interim Controls OR certification of LBP compliance Whether LBP is present and if so, where (lead concentrations for each surface tested) Presence and locations of LBP, recommendations for hazard control options

Call us today for an in-home XRF Lead Paint Inspection; serving the Seattle area for Residential and Commercial buildings... and yes we also test paint on manufacturing equipment, household goods, and toys.

Download a copy of the EPA Renovate Right Brochure


Federal law requires contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Always ask to see your contractor’s certification.

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renovating more than six square feet of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior projects or window replacement or demolition in housing, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978. 

Homeowners and tenants:

  1. Your renovators must give you this pamphlet before starting work.
  2. It is the LAW

Childcare facilities, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms, and the families of children under six years of age that attend those facilities:

  1. Renovators must provide a copy of this pamphlet to childcare facilities and general renovation information to families whose children attend those facilities.
  2. It is the LAW

Download a copy of the EPA Renovate Right Brochure

Need Lead Paint testing? We perform lead inspections, clearance testing, lead hazard screens, and lead paint risk assessments. Call 425.608.9553