DOH News Release – Free lead testing station at Waimānalo Beach Park for Earth Day Cleanup Festival

Posted on Apr 11, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU, HI – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH), Hawaiʻi Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program will host free lead testing at the Earth Day Cleanup Festival on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Waimānalo Beach Park. Those interested can visit DOH’s lead testing station with soil, as well as toys, jewelry, dishes, or other items that may contain lead. Finger-prick lead testing for keiki will also be available for free.

Lead can be found in many things like:

  • Old and chipping paint
  • Toys made before 2012
  • Spices or food from outside of the U.S.
  • Antique/old plates, bowls, glasses, and mugs
  • Jewelry, fishing sinkers, and souvenirs

Paint is the most common source of lead in Hawai‘i. Lead dust from deteriorating old paint, can be deposited inside and outside a home or building. Children can be affected by putting items with lead or lead dust into their mouths or by putting fingers into their mouths after handling such items.

Families that want to test an item should bring it to the station in a sealed plastic bag. For those that want to test soil, please follow these steps to collect a sample:

  1. Identify an area of interest for your soil sample.
  2. Collect soil from 5 to 10 random spots, 1 to 2 inches deep, and combine in a clean container. For garden areas, collect soil from the surface down to 6 to 8 inches deep.
  3. Mix soil well in clean container.
  4. Remove pebbles, rocks, and roots. Let air-dry (do not use flame, oven, or hairdryer).
  5. Transfer 1 to 2 cups of mixed soil into a clean, one-quart plastic bag that you can seal.

“There is no safe level of lead, and even a little lead in a child’s blood can hurt their ability to learn, pay attention, and do well in school,” said DOH State Toxicologist Dr. Diana Felton. “You can help them stay safe by learning about lead sources, but the best way to know if a child has been exposed to lead is to have their blood tested.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend screening children at increased risk for lead exposure. Children at increased risk include those who live or spend time in a house or building built before 1978, are from low-income households, are immigrants, refugees, or recently adopted from less developed countries, and live or spend time with someone who works with lead or has hobbies that expose them to lead. Children enrolled in Medicaid are required to get tested for lead at ages 12 and 24 months, or age 24 to 72 months if they have no record of ever being tested.

The DOH lead testing station is made possible through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kalihi-Pālama Health Center, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Hawaii.

For more information about the lead testing station at the Earth Day Cleanup Festival and suggestions on what to bring, visit

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Media Contact:

Derek Priddy

Hawai‘i State Department of Health

Children with Special Health Needs Branch

Hawaiʻi Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

[email protected]