Questions & Answers

About The LEAD Group and The LEAD Group Shop

LEAD Group DIY sampling and lab analysis test kits enable you to collect samples and send them to a NATA-accredited lab for accurate analysis. The LEAD Group receives the results from the lab and tells you what they mean – including what to do to make your family, pets, vegies and chooks lead-safe!

The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) Group Incorporated is a registered health promotion charity with an environmental protection fund (the Lead Education and Abatement Fund or LEAF) which aims to make the world lead-safe by 2041!

The LEAD Group Inc charity was founded in 1990 by three families in inner Sydney who set about building a Technical Advisory Board of professors, doctors and other experts on all aspects of lead, to advocate for:

  • The phase-out of leaded petrol (achieved 2002)
  • An end to the addition of lead to paints (achieved for residential paint in 1997 and all other paints in 2010)
  • More blood lead testing (local blood lead studies were achieved in 1992 and a national child study in 1996)
  • Reduced blood lead “action” levels (achieved in 1993 and made even more stringent in 2015 and for lead workers in 2017)
  • Regulatory protection from ignorance of renters and buyers about potentially lead-contaminated homes (not yet achieved)
  • Increasing citizen-driven environmental testing for lead (achieved since 2007 when we started selling LEAD Group Lead Testing Kits)

See the long list of our team, which is headed by Lead Scientist, Lead Advisor and LEAD Group co-Founder, Elizabeth O’Brien.

After developing excellent individualised advice based on test results organised by expensive consultants or hygienists who had never been trained to sample appropriately to protect children, The LEAD Group has sold more than 1,000 LEAD Group Lead Testing Kits over the last 13 years. We have also helped over 37,000 callers with free advice in 117,000 calls since 1990.

Our most popular kit is the Comprehensive Lead Testing Kit, which allows you to understand lead results on 8 samples of any combination of sample types of your choice:

  • Water
  • Paint chips
  • Dust wipes
  • Soil
  • Ceiling dust
  • Vacuum dust
  • Eggs
  • Toys
  • Ceramicware
  • Jewellery
  • And much more!

Many people have been able to reduce their family blood lead levels by testing with a LEAD Group Lead Testing Kit. Here are some cases of when Kit results and individualised advice have empowered our customers to become lead-safe:

  • Homeowners, builders and contractors have been able to completely prevent lead-poisoning and contamination during a renovation by taking samples beforehand, and then following the resulting lead abatement advice, like covering over lead-contaminated soil or removing lead-contaminated carpets and replacing them with wet-cleanable hard flooring
  • Tenants have used Kit results to support leaving a home before the lease is up, or to convince the landlord to safely clean up lead issues.
  • Poultry-keepers have reduced egg lead levels
  • Toy and ceramics importers have been able to determine whether toys or dishes comply with the heavy metals levels in the Mandatory Toy Standard and Ceramicware Standard before importing in bulk
  • Ceiling dust removal contractors, builders and paint contractors have been able to convince home-owners of the need to carry out lead-safe work
  • People who have new taps, pumps or plumbing have been able to determine whether they need to replace any of the plumbing system in order to achieve non-detectable levels of lead in their drinking water

Our Kits have also revealed unusual sources of lead, as detailed in the following articles:

No. If you are happy to pay full price for your LEAD Group Kit/s, then you can do so without becoming a LEAD Group member. However, to buy from The LEAD Group shop, you must register an account.

For the cost of $10 AUD per annum, individual membership of The LEAD Group entitles you to:

  • Discount on all LEAD Group Kit purchases throughout the year of membership
  • Discounted testing for metals by XRF (x-ray fluorescence)
  • An emailed invitation to the LEAD Group AGM in October
  • An email notification when we web-publish our quarterly newsletter LEAD Action News

Yes. You must register an account with The LEAD Group Shop if you wish to order testing kits and memberships via the site. Registering an account with us means that you can:

  • Track your orders and samples
  • Have a record of your purchases
  • Have your personalised test results interpretation kept online

Provide a valid email address and password in the account registration form and enjoy a secure, streamlined shopping experience!

Test Kit sampling and results

Yes. Not only can LEAD Group Test Kits test for lead in drinking water, it can also, at an additional cost, test for:

  • Other metals
  • pH on request, $15 per sample
  • Pesticides on request with no interpretation provided, $50 per sample
  • Benzene, toluene, ethylene and xylene (BTEX) on request with no interpretation provided, $20 per sample

The LEAD Group also recommends that if you live in New South Wales and are concerned about your drinking water, to ask NSW Health Pathology for their water testing services.

Once you have received confirmation of your purchase:

  1. You will receive another email notifying that your order is on its way and, depending on your chosen delivery option, a tracking number.
  2. Once you have received your order, take samples by following the instructions enclosed in the kit.
  3. After taking your samples, fill out the Chain of Custody form online.
  4. Post your samples to the lab with the address we have provided. Before posting your samples, you must make sure that the Chain of Custody form has been submitted and that your samples have been clearly labelled with the provided number/s. Otherwise, the lab may delay in processing your sample/s.
  5. The lab will notify us when your samples have been processed and gives us the numbers.
  6. We use our almost 20 years of expertise to interpret those numbers into results and actions you can take to become lead-free!

You must have completed the Chain of Custody form according to the kit instructions before your samples can be processed by the lab. After that, results are typically sent to you within a week or two of the lab receiving your samples. However, if you need to request URGENT results, they can be processed in 1-2 business days if the lab is able to add LEAD Group Kit samples to any urgent analysis jobs from the lab's other clients (without adding the usual extra charges).

If you order the Kit by Express Post (at the extra cost of $10 AUD), we will endeavour to get the Kit posted to you within a business day.

Once you recieve the Kit, the sooner you collect the samples (noting that you need to not use a tap for 9 hours before collecting a first flush water sample), and post them, the sooner you’ll get your results. If you Express Post your samples to the lab and ensure you’ve completed the Chain of Custody form online before they arrive, analysis can begin immediately.

You can also drop off or courier your samples to the lab once you and the lab have arranged that there is someone at the lab who is able to receive the delivery. Generally, the lab is open during business hours Sydney local time from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays in New South Wales.

Yes. The following sample types can be placed in a Glad Seal/ziplock snack or sandwich-sized bag that are labelled according to the sample numbers in your Chain of Custody form and sent to the lab:

  • Consumer products, e.g. toys
  • Jewellery
  • Ceramics
  • Eggs
  • Soil
  • Paint chips
  • Ceiling dust
  • Vacuum dust

If you are not testing dust wipes or water (or other liquids), then we do not need to post you a Kit at all, which makes for faster results!

Lead sampling advice

Entrants for The LEAD Group’s film and photo competition Volcano Art Prize have created short films on sample collection that are available on Youtube. Here are some of them:

If you have previously used one of our Kits, we hope you consider entering a video submission of your own to the Volcano Art Prize, or otherwise letting us know if you have made one yourself!

Possibly, but the best way to find out if there's a lead problem is to use a LEAD Group Water Kit to test the water, and/or ask the GP to order a blood lead test for anyone wishing to conceive or who is pregnant or the youngest child that drinks the water.

No, if the paint exceeds the Toy Standard lead limit on a baby's product we recommend destroying it & dumping it so no one else is tempted to use it for a baby. Laboratory analysis of paint according to the Australian and New Zealand Toy Standard Methodology costs an extra $10 per sample, and if you can’t scrape paint off the wicker, you’ll need to cut some of the basket and post that, and pay an extra $20 for separation of the paint from a substrate, so if you want to test the paint from a wicker bassinet, order a Single Kit + Toy Standard Methodology + Paint scraping.

To The LEAD Group's knowledge, wood can still contain traces of lead after chemically stripping lead-based paint, even with caustic baths and acid dipping. If you wish to completely remove lead traces from the wood grain, it is posisble to do it by sanding off the paint and the topmost layer of wood with a dust-free sander, or a sander fitted with a HEPA filter, in a shed with surfaces covered in plastic sheeting/tarpaulins (or a "plastic room" in the backyard). This answer is a summary of a Q&A from LEAD Action News Volume 20 Issue 4, which can be read in full here.