The Ultimate Guide To Lead Testing In New York City

For centuries, lead was the practical and inexpensive metal of choice in manufacturing pottery, pipes, roofing material, soldered pipes, batteries, cosmetics, and paint. Scientific investigations of the 1970s discovered that long-term exposure to lead in residential homes and apartments was the cause of a severe health issue known as lead poisoning.

The Ultimate Guide To Lead Testing In New York City

Table of Contents

Understanding XRF Lead Testing

Using XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) technology to detect and determine the amount of lead in paint involves a non-destructive, invasive analysis using a ‘gun-like’ spectrometer, similar to radar guns. The spectrometer beams an X-ray onto the sample material, interacting with the atoms that comprise the material and bringing about the fluorescent process. The spectrometer detects the fluorescent x-rays as energies that the electrons in the material emit.

Since X-rays can easily penetrate paint samples, Exit Mold technicians can use XRF analyzers to detect any trace of lead, even the lead located under layers of paint. The analysis is quick, giving higher percent readings of lead present in seconds and ‘parts per million’ in larger areas in just several minutes.

XRF testing does not require Exit Mold technicians to remove samples, preventing the release of dust from damaged surfaces.

Health Risks Of Lead Exposure - Exit Mold

Health Risks Of Lead Exposure

Lead poisoning in children include developmental delays, learning disabilities, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, seizures, and hearing loss. Newborn infants exposed to lead before birth were born prematurely, had low birth weight, and slowed growth. For adults, continued exposure to lead has correlated with difficulty with memory and concentration, high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, reduced sperm count or abnormal sperm for males, and miscarriages for females.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lead exposure brought about the following effects on public health:

  • Approximately half of the 2 million lives lost to chemical exposure in 2019 were due to lead exposure.
  • 30% of the global burden of intellectual disability is due to exposure to lead.
  • Lead exposure is responsible for 4.6% of worldwide cardiovascular disease.
  • Lead exposure is responsible for 3% of worldwide chronic kidney disease.
Importance Of Lead Testing In New York City - Exit Mold

Importance Of Lead Testing In New York City

In accordance with Local Law 31, New York City building owners must use a certified XRF technician to conduct an XRF lead test.

Local Law 31 states that all NYC businesses and residences built before 1960 must have a completed inspection before August 9, 2025.  If a child under six lives in a residential building, the inspection deadline is shortened to within one year of moving in. Even when applying for an HPD (Housing, Preservation, and Development) lead exemption, an XRF lead test is still required. The following website provides more information about applying for lead exemptions. 

Regulations And Standards For Lead Testing - Exit Mold

Regulations And Standards For Lead Testing

On January 31, 2019, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City reiterated his commitment to detecting and preventing lead exposure in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments with an initiative called ‘Taking The Lead On Lead.’  

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Office of U.S. Attorney for Southern District of N.Y. (SDNY), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) signed a joint agreement that addresses lead-based paint and environmental hazards within the housing portfolio of NYCHA, resulting in an overhaul of internal programs, which brought about the most effective, aggressive public housing lead prevention in the nation with a lowered threshold of lead-based paint from one milligram per square centimeter to 0.5 milligrams per centimeter.

XRF testing involves inspecting each surface to determine whether lead-based paint is present in a residential home or business. The certified professional puts the XRF analyzer directly on the affected surface to take measurements and then compares it to HUD (Housing and Urban Development) standards.

XRF lead testing process

XRF Lead Testing Process

Local Law 66 states that lead-based paint has a positive result when the technician detects a measurement higher or equal to 0.5 milligrams per square centimeter. Measurements falling within a specific reading, for reason of uneven or damaged surfaces, are sometimes inconclusive. When measuring a damaged surface, the professional technician will collect paint chip samples to be analyzed by a laboratory. After an XRF lead inspector completes the test, building owners receive an inspection report that displays the XRF analyzer findings.

According to New York City HUD guidelines, the documentation report should include the following:

  • The inspection company
  • Date
  • Professional certification number
  • XRF readings
  • A positive or negative result
  • XRF or laboratory information
  • Sampling location
  • Laboratory results (if required)
  • A summary of lead-based paint detected


New York City Case Studies And Success Stories

New York City Case Studies And Success Stories

Some of the cases of ‘Taking The Lead On Lead’ include:

  • The implementation by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to enhance enforcement of Local Law 1 of 2004 to include one and two-family homes and redefining ‘resides’ to incorporate those dwelling units with children under six who are in the dwelling ten or more hours a week.

  • Lead exposure in children reduced by 93% since 2005, as stated in a letter to New Yorkers by Mayor Eric Adams. 

  • As part of PACT, Permanent Affordability Commitment Together program, there has been lead abatement to many New York City Housing Authority apartments to meet the federal standards. January 31, 2023, 1,040 Williamsburg and Harlem River Houses, have been abated.

  • The Department of Parks And Recreation tested more than 3,400 indoor and outdoor drinking fountains to determine if the level of lead in the water exceeded local, state, and federal standards. Such testing involved 3,416 out of 3800 fountains, the remaining 380 being out of service or under construction. Two hundred ninety-two fountains (8.5 percent) were found to exceed the federal standard for lead level. Each fountain with an elevated lead level was shut down, repaired, and restored to service. Repairs included the installation of new filters, replacing control valves and bubblers, piping, and fittings. 
Choosing A Reliable XRF Testing Service In NYC 1 - Exit Mold

Choosing A Reliable XRF Testing Service In NYC

When seeking a reliable, certified XRF lead testing inspector for any NYC residence or business office, look no further than Exit Mold, serving New York City and the five boroughs for 25-plus years!  Exit Mold professionals use the following XRF process:

  • Detection – Using only the latest XRF technology to identify lead-based paint efficiently and effectively. 
  • Analysis & Comprehensive Reporting – Using proprietary software that provides a detailed analysis within 24 hours.

Lead Abatement Solution – Customized solutions that efficiently and safely remove hazardous lead paint from residential or business property.

summary of facts

Summary Of Facts

Scientists came to an understanding of the long-term health hazards associated with exposure to lead-based paint in the 1970s, NYC and NY. State initiated a series of laws to protect its residents from the health hazards of exposure to this metal. Such health hazards include learning disabilities in children and adults, premature births, miscarriages for females, and low or abnormal sperm in males, as well as fatigue, high blood pressure, and joint or muscle pain. With the advent of XRF (X-ray Fluorescent) lead testing technology, lead paint is easily detected and safely removed by a qualified XRF technician, such as found with Exit Mold, a NYC fire restoration, mold, and lead remediation firm doing business in NYC and the five boroughs for 25-plus years! In January 2023, NYC initiated the ‘Taking The Lead On Lead,’ which further enhanced the laws for removing lead from New York City Housing (NYCHA) apartments, private rentals, and NYC homes.  

In addition to the official laws mandating lead abatement, tenants and homeowners are encouraged to take such pro-active steps to protect against lead exposure by: 

  • Washing floors, window sills, hands, toys, and pacifiers frequently.

  • Report peeling paint to the landlord ASAP to re-paint such surface, or if homeowner, re-paint peeling paint ASAP!

  • Do not allow children to play in or near the area of the home being remodeled, where dust is created. Home remodeling contractors should separate the work area from the rest of the house or apartment. If the work area is not contained and cleaned daily, report such to NYC authorities by calling 311.

  • Children should be tested for lead poisoning as early as one or two years of age.

Contact our team of experts today to schedule an XRF lead test for your home or business.

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