Here at Train2Rebuild, we finally received the sample D-Lead test kits from Esca Tech Inc. the new boys in town for testing lead in homes built before 1978.
Previously, we had LeadCheck but it is not approved by EPA for testing on drywall and plaster.
D-Lead does have the EPA approval for testing on drywall, plaster and ferrous metal. And since D-Lead does not rely on a red color change, it will work on red, pink and black paint. As you may know, LeadCheck is not approved to test for lead on those colors.
My goal here is to use both D-Lead and LeadCheck to test for lead in the same area of an old, painted wooden door.
As you can see above, the D-Lead test kit comes with several components:
Solution bottle 1
Solution bottle 2
Sample catch trays
Waste disposal bag
Plus, you get an instruction manual — which is mildly confusing — in English and Spanish.
The first instruction is to read all of the instructions. What a concept. And I reccomend you do read those instructions, paying special attention to the safety guidelines.
After reading all the instructions, I used the D-lead test on an exterior porch door in a home built in the 1940s. It is easy enough:
• Take a sample with the sampling tool • Place in Test Bottle 1 • Shake for 10 seconds • Add 5 drops from Solution Bottle 2 • Give it a shake for 10 more seconds.
According to the instructions the results should appear in 3-10 minutes.
Here is the test bottle after 10 minutes:
What do you think? If no lead is present, the solution will remain clear. If the level of lead is under the limit that requires RRP practices, the solution will be lighter in color than the color strip on the bottle. If the solution's color matches or exceeds the color strip, lead is definitely present. I found this color a little ambiguous. Is it less than the color strip? Or equal to it?
And here is a comparison with LeadCheck, used on the place where I carved out my sample for D-lead:
This is quite clear: the red means lead.
So you gotta ask yourself, which do you prefer? LeadCheck is easy and quick but does not work on drywall and plaster. And it does not work on red, pink and black paint.
D-Lead takes a little longer and the color change leaves a little to your color sensitivity. However, it does work on drywall, plaster and ferrous metals, as well as all colors of paint.
Plus, it is still not clear how available D-Lead will be in the coming weeks.
The good thing is there is competition in the lead testing market and that can only be good for certified renovators.
In the coming days, I will try this out on other surfaces and I'll show it to my next RRP class to get their opinion and get back with you on how it all shakes out. Stay tuned!
In every EPA RRP-compliant project, part of the process involves keeping excellent records of what you tested and the results. This is called "protecting your assets."
D-Lead — one of the two testing kids approved by EPA for RRP jobs (along with LeadCheck), and the only one authorized for testing for lead on plaster, stucco, sheetrock/drywall — has provided a record keeping form.