How and When You Should Use Lead Wipes

If you suspect there is lead dust in your building, it is crucial to perform testing and determine your mitigation efforts.

Lead dust sampling is recommended after any renovations or repairs are done to properties built before 1978 that children might spend time in. Federally-assisted properties built prior to 1978 should undergo sampling after hazard reduction or maintenance activities.

One of the best ways to detect lead is by using lead sample wipes. These wipes collect the dust and possible lead particles and are then inserted into a centrifuge tube and sent off for laboratory testing.

Using these wipes makes it easier to prepare the sample and more reliable for analysis later on.

What Kind of Lead Sampling Wipes You Should Use

The American Society for Testing and Materials has specific guidelines for the materials used to sample lead in surface dust.

According to ASTM, lead sampling wipes must be tested for:

  • Conformance to background lead
  • Lead recoverability
  • Collection efficiency
  • Ruggedness
  • Moisture
  • Coefficient of variation in mass
  • Linear dimensions
  • Thickness

Typically, these wipes will be individually wrapped. You can purchase them in bundles or cases for sampling large areas.

When purchasing wipes make sure they are labeled as meeting ASTM specifications.

Steps for Sampling Lead With a Dust Wipe

The EPA lists out several steps for using wipes to sample your business or home for lead.

  1. You must put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including shoe covers to prevent cross contamination from multiple rooms. Then outline the area you are going to sample for dust, this can be done using a provided template or with tape.
  2. Prep your sample tubes by labeling them and loosening the tube cap.
  3. Put on disposable gloves, replace them for each sample.
  4. Open the individual package and wipe down the sample area in an s-like pattern. Then fold the wipe and use it in a forward and back motion. Continue folding and wiping until you’ve collected dust from your entire sample area.
  5. Fold up your wipe and place it in your centrifuge tube. Then put the cap back on and label the tube.
  6. Measure and write down the dimensions of your sample area.
  7. Clean your template and store it in a plastic bag until you sample your next area. Clean the area and then thoroughly clean your hands.
  8. Send your samples to a Lead Lab for testing.

Where You Should Search for Lead Dust

The best places to test for contaminated dust are your floors and windowsills.

When you’re testing a building you should take one floor and one windowsill sample per room, hallway or stairwell.

According to the EPA, you do not need to test more than four rooms or areas within a building.

What Can Lead Sampling Wipes Test For?

ASTM lead sampling wipes can be used to collect samples of more than just lead from surfaces. With the right wipes and lab testing you can also determine if your sample includes:

  • Addendum B:Antimony
  • Beryllium
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc

Gather Your Supplies for Lead Sampling

You will need more than just wipes to find lead in your dust. You will need a tube for sending it to the lab, decontamination wipes and templates for your sample area.

EHS provides the following items with each purchase of a lead dust wipe kit:

  • Individually Wrapped ASTM Dust Wipe – Single, Bundle of 100 or Case of 1000
  • 50-ml Skirted Centrifuge (Sample) Tube – Single, Bundle of 25 or Case of 500
  • Individually Wrapped Decontamination Wipe – Single, Bundle of 100 or Case of 100
  • 12” x 12” Floor Template For Lead Dust Wipe Sampling – Single
  • 2” x 18” Window Sill Template for Lead Dust Wipe Sampling – Single

Contact EHS to get connected with a lead sampling customer service representative today.