Testing for lead paint


Has anyone ever used any of those home test kits? Are they reliable?

We bought a trunk at an antique mall a couple years ago that we use as a coffee table in our family room. I’m guessing it’s from the 1940s or 1950s. My DS#3 is starting to walk around furniture and he’s always putting his mouth on the coffee table. This wasn’t an issue with our older boys because by the time we got this, they were beyond the “putting everything in their mouth” stages. I hadn’t even given a thought but DH asked about the lead paint issue so we want to do a test.

Thanks for any help! :slight_smile:

(Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.)


I’ve done it a few times, in response to various “scares” in the media. Once for vinyl mini-blinds (ack! yes they did have lead!) and once for soft vinyl lunchboxes (no! no lead!)

Easy and cheap. Don’t stress about it, just pick it up at the hardware store.



Awesome! Thanks! I found some sites to buy tests online and DH just asked if we could get them at Home Depot. I’ll try to check it out tomorrow while I’m errand running. :slight_smile:


If it’s from that era and is painted, there’s a good chance there may be lead-based paint. As said, home-test kits are easily available and inexpensive.

Now… the “fun” part… what are you going to do if it shows positive?? Do not sand off the old paint! The lead will become air-borne (friable) and get everywhere in the workshop, sucked up the furnace/AC returns etc.

Use a chemical stripper (with appropriate precautions) and plastic bag all the scrapings. Dispose of properly (consult your local hazardous waste recycling center - the places that take drain oil, TV’s, and other nasty household “stuff”).

Who knows… you may find some beautiful wood under all that paint… and have a really nice piece of furniture!


We haven’t thought that far ahead. Honestly, I’d probably look into paying someone to take care of it. We tried stripping a rocking chair before DS#1 was born and couldn’t find the time then. I can’t imagine finding time to do it with three kiddos. :wink:

Maybe we’ll be lucky and it was painted more recently. :shrug:


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