We are all a bit sensitive about lead these days due to the heavy metal found several years ago in toys manufactured abroad and brought to the US which contained high amounts of lead in their paint or plastic surfaces. Because lead is tasteless, odorless and invisible to the naked eye, the average consumer feels helpless in knowing where it might be and whether they might be expose to its danger.
“Manufacturers and the government need to strengthen their efforts to eliminate lead in the marketplace,” said Consumer Reports Senior Director for Product Safety, Donald Mays.
“In the meantime, consumers need a way to assess the safety of products in their homes, [businesses and schools] and lead test kits are a useful though limited screening tool.”
The likelihood of artificial turf yarns, sold in North America, having lead or other heavy metals that could leach from them and harm you or your family is highly unlikely. US guidelines and regulations are conscientiously followed by our North American tufting manufacturers and their yarn and backing suppliers. Tufting manufactures and their materials suppliers maintain regular product testing and safety data sheets on file for their line goods and materials. These reports are freely supplied, when requested; many available for download right off the corporate brand’s website.
“If someone wanted to test their artificial turf for harmful levels of lead, it’s actually pretty easy.” states Annie Costa, Exec Director of ASGi. “Simply go down to your local hardware store and pickup a lead test kit for paint and plastics; you might even find them in toy stores and baby goods retailers. Several popular brands are available at Tru-Value, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes and other large retailers.”
Consumer Test Kits
Consumer Reports recently tested five home lead-testing kits and concluded that three of the five kits tested were useful though limited screening tools for consumers concerned about lead levels in the products in their homes.
Consumer Reports found that three of the five lead test kits, Homax Lead Check, Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit and Lead Inspector, detected surface or accessible lead but don’t detect lead embedded below the surface. Consumer Reports advises parents that if an item tests positive for lead it should be removed from use. To ascertain exact lead levels, items must be screened professionally.
In Consumer Reports tests, the Homax Lead Check ($8); and the Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit ($18.45) were the easiest to use and identified accessible lead in toys, ceramic dishware, and vinyl or plastic. These two kits consist of cigarette-shaped swabs, made by the same company, that turn pink when they detect lead.
If lead concentrations are low, these swabs can take up to 2 hours to change color [if surface lead is found], but in CR’s tests, high concentrations produced immediate results. The eight-swab Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit pack is a better bargain than the Homax two-swab pack. Its packaging was also less susceptible to being crushed.
Great Test Tools for Professionals,
Suppliers, Commercial and School Testing Solutions
A very affordable and accurate tool for detection of heavy metals, in including lead, in everything from artificial turf fibers to infill materials (crumb rubber) is X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technology.
\XRF tools use a non destructive method of testing for lead content. These hand-held devices are used successfully for measuring lead in soil and paint, including paint on children’s toys, furniture, and other objects.\
Lead-based paint inspectors and some laboratories may have these devices, which exist in both portable and fixed forms. Portable XRF devices allow consumers to have items tested in more convent locations such as home or schools. For one option, available to consumers on the internet – check on Artificial Turf and Heavy Metals testing – hand held devices from Innov-X Systems:
If you use a service to do the testing for you, cost per reading depends on the number of samples to be analyzed and the inspector’s time. Innova X Systems offers an entire array of lead and heavy metal testing services, tools, equipment and education at their site - HERE.
For more handy tips to insure you reduce your risk of exposure to lead – go here!
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