A risk assessment is an onsite investigation to discover if any lead-based paint hazards exist. A hazard is a condition that causes exposure to lead that would result in an adverse health outcome. The assessments also provide recommendations for reducing exposure to the lead hazards. Certified risk assessors must perform risk assessments.
Risk assessments go beyond simply assessing the condition of the paint, and take into account resident use patterns and management or maintenance practices that will affect the paint. Risk assessments also identify other potential sources of lead hazards, such as dust and soil.
The cost of a risk assessment will vary depending on the number and condition of the buildings being assessed. A risk assessment has four major components: onsite data collection, laboratory analytical procedures, evaluation of findings, and the final report.
- Onsite Data Collection--The onsite data collection begins with an overall visual assessment of the site. The visual assessment should identify deteriorating painted surfaces, areas of visible dust accumulation, areas of bare soil, and painted surfaces at impact points (such as door jambs) that could create lead dust. After the visual assessment is completed, dust samples are collected from specific sites and sent to an accredited laboratory to determine the amount of lead. If deteriorating paint is observed or if the assessor believes a hazard exists, the paint will be analyzed by X-Ray Fluorescence or by taking paint samples. Soil samples may be taken in areas of bare soil in outdoor play areas, building foundations or drip lines, bare pathways, etc. Water samples may be taken, but are not required for a routine risk assessment.
- Laboratory Analytical Procedures--Paint, dust, and soil samples are analyzed only by accredited laboratories.
- Evaluation of Findings--The goal of risk assessment is to determine whether any lead-based paint hazards are present. If lead hazards are found, the risk assessor will identify acceptable options for controlling the hazards.
- A final report is given to the client containing the findings.