Home lead test kits are unreliable, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Monday. The agency evaluated commonly available test kits on a variety of paints and other products containing different levels of lead, finding that many of the tests did not detect lead when it was there (false negatives) and others indicated lead was present when it was not (false positives).
Of the 104 test results, 56 were false negatives and two were false positives. None of the kits consistently detected lead in products if the lead was covered with a non-lead coating.
Based on these findings, the CPSC said consumers should not use home test kits to evaluate whether products may pose a lead hazard. The new findings are consistent with previous evaluations by the agency.
Testing by a qualified laboratory and trained personnel is the only way to accurately assess a product's lead-related risk, the CPSC said.