dusty lead weight with skull

How to Identify Lead Paint in My Hillsboro, OR Home

Health & Safety

In Hillsboro, OR, lead paint is likely to be present in many homes. It’s reported that just over 50% of the housing in and around Portland, Oregon was constructed prior to 1979. Lead paint was used extensively until the late 1970s, and even though it has been banned for decades, it still lingers in many buildings.

If your home was built before 1978, there’s a good chance it contains lead paint. While lead paint isn’t necessarily dangerous if it’s in good condition and not disturbed, if it’s deteriorating or you’re planning on doing some renovation or need repair work after a property damage event, you’ll want to test for lead paint and have it removed by a professional before starting any work. Keep reading to learn more about lead paint and how to identify it in your home.

closeup of chipped paint

What is Lead Paint?

Lead paint is any paint that contains lead pigments. It was used frequently before 1970, and then again in limited cases until 1978 when it was finally banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to concerns about its health effects (more on that in a sec). Since many homes in Hillsboro, OR were built before that, there’s a good chance your home may contain some lead paint. Lead paint has a distinct color, usually a shiny bluish-gray hue. It’s also typically very thick and has a chalky texture.

Why is Lead Paint Dangerous?

Lead paint can be dangerous if it’s disturbed and small particles of dust become airborne. This dust can then be inhaled or ingested by people or pets who are in the home, leading to lead poisoning.

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning is a serious health hazard, particularly for young children. Lead poisoning can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, developmental delays, anemia, hearing problems, and other issues.

Symptoms of lead poisoning include nausea, abdominal pain, confusion, and headaches. In extreme cases, it can even lead to coma or death.

If you think your home may contain lead paint, don’t panic just yet – there are ways to identify it and make sure everyone in your home is safe.

What should you look for?

So, how can you tell if your Hillsboro, OR home has lead paint? Here are a few signs to look for: 

How to Test a Paint Sample for Lead

If you’re concerned that your home may contain lead paint, one of the best ways to find out is to test a paint sample. You can either take a sample yourself or have a Hillsboro, OR professional take one for you. Keep reading for instructions on how to test a paint sample for lead.

  1. First things first, you’ll need to gather some supplies. You’ll need a lead testing kit, a dust mask, painter’s tape, and some plastic sheeting. 
  2. Once you have your supplies, put on your dust mask and carefully gather a small piece of painted surface (chips or dust are ideal) from the wall or area you’re testing. 
  3. Tape off the area around the sample you’ve removed with the painter’s tape and cover it with plastic sheeting to contain any dust. 
  4. Follow the instructions that come with your lead testing kit to prepare the sample of the dust from the area you’ve removed the paint from for testing. 
  5. Send your sample off to a laboratory for analysis and wait for the results.

If you find lead, it’s important to have it removed by a professional as soon as possible. Lead paint removal is an involved and potentially dangerous process that should only be done by experienced professionals.

Lead paint is no joke—nearly half of all homes near Hillsboro, OR were built before 1978 and if your home was built before 1978, there’s a good chance it contains this harmful substance. But don’t worry, testing for lead paint is relatively simple and can be done using a store-bought lead testing kit. Just be sure to follow all safety precautions and hire a professional to remove the lead paint if your test comes back positive so that you can renovate your home safely!


The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is a state health department in the U.S. state of Oregon. The OHA’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all Oregonians. One of the ways they work to achieve this mission is by increasing awareness about lead poisoning and providing resources and information about lead exposure prevention.

The OHA provides a variety of resources on their website about lead poisoning prevention. If you are concerned that you or your family may have been exposed to lead, the OHA can help connect you with the resources you need. So if you’re living in Hillsboro, OR, be sure to check out the Oregon Health Authority website for more information on lead poisoning prevention!

Other Ways to Keep Your Home Safe:

Last edited on 20th of December 2022