How can I test for lead in paint?

I currently live in China and am thinking about painting my apartment, however I am bit nervous about getting a paint that isn't lead-free. My Chinese speaking/reading abilities are still infantile, and even equipped with the means to ask about the paint I fear the reliability of the answer. Call me an empirophilic westerner, but I would much rather test the paint for myself. Is there a simple test (possibly household chemical) that I can perform to help me out?

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kelseymh8 years ago
There are test kits you can purchase, but you should only get one that actually tells you what the chemicals are. Then you can double check (e.g., on Wikipedia) that the reaction is real or bogus, and whether there are special issues to think about. If you want to do something from scratch, you can try "lead reagent indicator" in a Google search. The first page is almost entirely published journal papers where you have to pay for access, but later pages ought to have some useful information.
rasputinsauntie (author) 8 years ago
Cool, thanks y'all. Turns out that I got to my apartment, and the paint isn't that bad. I will do my best to avoid gnawing on the walls when I get hungry..I can always scrounge up some pickled chicken feet or something. This is very helpful info to pass on to other people here who do have kids and who are concerned about heavy metals being ingested.
jtobako8 years ago
An expensive option is an XRF Device (x-ray florescence), but it's portable and re-usable.
Stew28 years ago
I'm not sure about China, but I don't even think you can buy an interior house paint that contains lead anymore. To my knowledge the only paints that still contain lead are sign writers enamels like the brand name "One Shot" and some exterior enamels. Again though, this could be region specific and I live in Canada. Like Lemonie said though, it only really presents a hazard if you are eating it or sanding it.
lemonie8 years ago
Lead oxide isn't that much of a problem unless kids are chewing on it or you're stripping it off. Probably more heavy-metal risk in traditional Chinese medicines....

seandogue8 years ago
I'd enter the following into a search engine:

"lead test kit" they cost anywhere from ~$15 on up.

Her's one I found, though I can't attest to it, as I've never used the product.

Lead Inspector