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Lead Testing Made Simple

Lead test kitWhenever I’m told to test my house for lead or radon or mold or asbestos, I get a bad case of the “yeah buts. . . .”

As in:

Yeah, but . . . who do I call?
Yeah, but . . . how do I collect samples?
Yeah, but . . . what do I put the samples in?
Yeah, but . . . where do I send them?

One enterprising company, Pro-Lab, seeks to take the yeah-buts out of the equation with do-it-yourself testing kits, which are sold at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, etc., or online.

You can get test kits for mold, radon, radon in water, water quality, lead in paint and dust, and so many more.

Each kits operates with different procedures. For the mold test, you tape a solution-filled container over an air duct. For the radon test, you leave opened containers in a location for a number of hours. For the water quality test, you dip strips of material that detect certain chemicals. The Lead Surface test kit includes six test strips to determine lead in toys, dinnerware, ceramics, pipes, and so on. Most kits require an additional lab fee of about $30 (the lead-in-paint-or-dust kit and the lead-in-water kit, for $30, include the lab fee), and all include a postage-paid envelope for you to send off your sample.

I’m sure it could be argued that this is not a DIY-appropriate area of inquiry.

But if it’s a choice between standing around saying “yeah, but . . . ” or taking some kind of action, this is probably a good thing.

If you’ve used one of these kits, or a similar product, I’d love to hear about it.

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