OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

July 18, 2003

Mr. Charles Hyder, CIH
28 Bartlett Drive
Schwenksville, PA 19473

Dear Mr. Hyder,

This is in response to your letter of March 4, 2003, to Mr. Richard Fairfax, Director of Enforcement Programs for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You asked about the acceptability of rhodizonate-based spot test kits for determining the presence or absence of lead in paint coatings. Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine for response. You wanted to know, specifically, whether a negative finding, obtained using either the Lead Check or Lead Alert test kits, would be sufficient to conclude that lead was not present for the purpose of complying with OSHA's Lead Standards, 29 CFR 1910.1025 and/or 29 CFR 1926.62.

OSHA's mission is to provide a safe and healthful working environment for American workers. To accomplish this task in the area of occupational exposure to lead, we require the employer to perform an initial determination which requires the employer to monitor workers' exposure unless the employer has objective or historical data that can reliably demonstrate that no employee will be exposed to lead at or above the action level. OSHA's does not consider any method that relies solely on the analysis of bulk materials or surface content of lead to be acceptable for safely predicting employee exposure to airborne contaminants. Without air monitoring results or without the benefit of historical or objective data (including air sampling which clearly demonstrates that the employee cannot be exposed at or above the action level during any process, operation, or activity), as required by 29 CFR 1910.1025 or 29 CFR 1926.62, the employer cannot rule out the possibility of excess worker exposure to airborne lead.

I trust that this satisfactorily answers your concerns. If we may be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact [the Office of Science and Technology Assessment at (202) 693-2095].


Ruth McCully
Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine

March 4, 2003

To: Mr. Richard Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20210

From: Charles Hyder, CIH
28 Bartlett Drive
Schwenksville, PA 19473

Dear Mr. Fairfax,

Is the use of Rodizonate-based spot test kit acceptable for determining the presence or absence of lead in a paint coating in order to comply with 29 CFR 1926.62? In 1994 the OSHA Technical Center evaluated two commercially available kits:

LEAD CHECK ™ Test Kit (HybriVet System, Inc.)

LEAD ALERT ™ All In One ™ Professional Kit (Sensidyne)

If either of these kits (or an equivalent) are used and a negative finding for lead is made, will this be sufficient to produce a determination that lead is not present for the purpose of complying with the Standard?


Charles Hyder, CIH