Lead in paint

How likely are my premises to contain lead in paint?

If your premises were built before the 1980s they may contain white lead (lead carbonate) – a common white pigment used in paint before 1980, which contains more than 1% lead.

Before 1980, white lead paint was mainly used on exterior building surfaces, interior doors and architraves. Undercoats and primers often contained as much as 20% lead.

Red, yellow and orange lead-chrome pigments were also used on interior walls, but were less common.

When refitting your premises, it's important to remember that lead paint might not be on the surface. Layers of lead paint are often covered with layers of more recent paint.

If your premises were built from the 1980s onwards your painted surfaces are much less likely to contain lead.

However, there's still a chance that previous owners may have used industrial paints with high concentrations of lead.

If you have any suspicion at all that you have found lead, have a paint sample tested by Airsafe.

Find out how to get a paint sample tested »

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