Lead Assessment and Abatement

lead paint inspection** will identify the presence of lead based paint. Certified and trained inspectors use x-ray fluorescence machines commonly called "XRF" or can send off paint chips to be analyzed.  However, an inspection won’t tell you whether the paint is a hazard, presence of lead contaminated dust or soil, or how you should deal with it.

risk assessment** tells you if any lead-based paint hazards exist, which could cause harmful exposure to lead, particularly to young children and pregnant women. The assessment report will provide options for controlling the hazards found. You may need interim controls, abatement or a combination.

** Lead inspections and risk assessment should not be confused with a home inspection. A home inspector may not have training in lead-based paint hazards and be certified with the state. Always check the inspector’s training and qualifications.

Interim controls are measures to temporarily control lead-based paint hazards and lead dust.

Abatement is a process to permanently (20 years or more) control a lead hazard by limiting exposure to harmful levels of lead. Abatement can include strategies such as paint removal, sealing or enclosing an area with an approved product, or permanently covering bare lead-contaminated soil. Painting over lead-based paint with regular paint is not enough.

Key Differences Between a Lead Inspection and a Risk Assessment

Analysis, Content, or Use Lead Inspection Risk Assessment
Paint All surfaces Deteriorated paint only
Dust No Yes
Soil No Yes (bare residential soil)
Air No No
Water Optional Optional
Lead Hazard Control Options Identified No Yes, both abatement and short term "interim controls"
Final report Concentrations of lead in paint for all painted surfaces or certification that the property does not contain lead-based paint Identification of lead-based paint hazards and lead hazard control options

Certified Lead Paint Individuals and Firms

For a list of:

  • Tennessee certified lead paint inspectors, risk assessors and abatement professionals in your area
  • Information on the Tennessee State Certification program
  • The Lead-based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule

Call the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Lead Line:

  • 1-888-771-LEAD (5323) or locally at: 615-532-LEAD (5323)

Go to the Department of Environment and Conservation Lead-Based Paint Abatement Program to obtain:

  • a schedule for taking the Commissioner's Certification Examination,
  • a list of Certified Lead-Based Paint Abatement Program Professionals
  • notification of Lead-Based Paint Abatement - Project Registration