Lead Paint Test Kit Vendors: EPA Wants to Hear from You

To carry out its 2008 rules to reduce the risk of lead poisoning from repairs and renovations, EPA is creating a program to ensure the accuracy of commercially available kits to detect lead in paint. The agency is asking vendors of lead-detection kits to apply to have their test kits reviewed, and plans to recognize the accurate kits.

In the March 2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP) rule, the agency described criteria for lead test kits that detect lead in paint. The kits must have a false negative rate of no more than five percent and a false positive rate of no more than ten percent as measured against the federal standards for lead-based paint, which specify that lead is a hazard when lead content equals or exceeds a level of 1.0 milligram per centimeter squared or 0.5 percent by weight.

EPA is using a two-phased process in establishing an evaluation and recognition program: the first phase will be for those commercially available test kits that meet the criterion of a five percent false negative rate, and the second phase will be for improved test kits that meet the criteria of five percent false negative rate and a ten percent false positive rate.

During the first phase, if vendors have an existing test kit that is currently commercially available and would like to have it evaluated for the purpose of being recognized by EPA as meeting the five percent false negative rate, they may contact Sam Brown of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics at 202-566-0490 or e-mail him at brown.sam@epa.gov. EPA started accepting applications for the first phase of the evaluation process on Sept. 1. You can download an application for commercially available test kits that meet the five percent false negative requirement at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/special_lead_testkit_application.pdf.

Test kits will be evaluated using a protocol that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed and used in its report entitled, "Spot Test Kits for Detecting Lead in Household Paint: A Laboratory Evaluation," found at http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build00/PDF/b00034.pdf.

In the second phase of the evaluation process, EPA will promote development and adoption of test kits that meet both the false negative and the false positive standards. The agency expects to begin to solicit vendors as part of its Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program in April 2009. In fall 2008, EPA expects to make available a limited set of performance evaluation materials for vendors who would like to independently evaluate the effectiveness of their test kits before testing in the ETV program. Vendors can obtain the materials on a limited, first-come first-served basis beginning in October 2008 by contacting Sam Brown of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics at 202-566-0490 or e-mail him at brown.sam@epa.gov. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/testkit.htm.

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