Skip to main content

Lead & Lead Paint

Exposure to lead can affect nearly all bodily systems.

Lead has been used in many applications, for thousands of years, and surface ore deposits are easily mined and processed. In recent times however, the adverse effects of exposure to lead in drinking water, air, dust, and soil have been well documented.

Lead exposure can affect nearly all bodily systems, and cause a range of health issues including to the nervous system, kidneys, and physical development. The effects of lead on the unborn or young child are typically the most severe, as their bodily tissues accumulate the metal during growth.

Exposure to lead in young children has also been shown to cause neurological and behavioural problems. Research conducted in countries following a ban on the use of leaded petrol shows a significant correlation to the date of the ban and a reduction in measures of adolescent delinquency such as youth crime rates.

Lead-based paints are common in older homes and workplaces, and building works or renovations involving sanding, scraping, or hot removal of older paint layers are a leading cause of lead disturbance and exposure.

Lead Paints


Paints manufactured before 1970 should be assumed suspect and may contain high levels of lead, particularly gloss finishes or paints to timber, masonry, or metal.

In 1965 permissible levels of lead in paint were reduced from 50% to 1%, during the 1990’s levels were reduced further to 0.1%. Paints containing greater than 0.1% lead are currently considered ‘Lead-Based’ for hazmat mangement purposes.

We provide lead paint assessments for the home or workplace, as part of a hazardous materials audit or standalone service, and can provide recommendations for safe removal or ongoing management of in-situ material.

Residential Lead Paint
Water Testing

Soil & Water Testing


Lead products were used in plumbing and water pipes until the 1980’s, and this may cause elevated lead levels in water supplies to older buildings.

Lead in drinking water can cause an immediate exposure risk, but water used for irrigation may contaminate fruit and vegetables. Studies have shown that lead does not readily accumulate in plant fruits, but is more likely to be an issue in green leafy vegetables, or as surface contamination to root vegetables.

Contamination of soil with lead is common in residential gardens where lead-based paints have previously been flaking.

Previous industrial use of a site could also be an indicator of potential contamination with lead or other substances of concern. Our experienced Environmental Toxicologists can assist with on-site assessments, and testing soil & water for a broad range of potential contaminants.

More About Contaminated Land & Water Services