Up until about 1980, lead paint was very widely used. If your house was built before then, it almost certainly contains lead based paint. How do you find out?
1. Blood tests
If you think that there is a danger it is probably a good idea to have your blood tested for lead. If you have children they should be tested too.
2. Sodium Sulphite
Many pant shops and pharmacies sell a 5% solution of sodium sulphite. To use this to test your paint, you need to cut into the paint and try to turn a small flap over. Dab the back of the flap with the solution. If the solution turns black, it is lead paint.
3. Test Kits
You can buy kits to detect lead paint from hardware shops. Use these kits according to the instructions that come with them. Some kits will explain what the risks are with lead paint.
4. Professional services
A professional service will offer a lead paint detection and risk assessment service. The report they produce for you will identify where any lead based paint is and tell you what risk it represents.
Lead paint that is in good condition is not dangerous. Any cracked or flaking lead paint should be carefully removed.