The attention the interviews I did with the companies about the CPSC lead testing were good. Infact, it drew attention from places I didn’t even know co-existed with BMX. Tung Luong contacted me with an idea that couldn’t be passed up. Tung is a chemist, who rides BMX also. Yeah, who would have imagined? Basically, because I am far from a chemist, I decided maybe we could see how he feels about the whole situation, and this is what Tung had to say.
I’m sure people are wondering, maybe if they had to ask a lab to do the work what they should be asking and who they turning to. You can ask your readers if they have any tech questions. Or you can throw out some. I’ll put down a few I think people in the bmx industry want to know. I put a few Q and A below. Feel free to ask whatever.
If you have any questions from this, just leave it in the comments and I will get it to Tung to answer.
What type of laboratory should I be looking into?
Well you would want to either go either a lab at is EPA accredited, or a lab that is ISO certified. Choosing either a contract laboratory or an environmental laboratory would be best. Somebody who has experience looking into materials would work as well.
How exactly do they do lead testing? What’s the best method?
There are several methods that can be done to analyze Lead in various materials. Depending on material testing can vary. As you may know many people use handheld XRF (X-ray-Fluorescence) devices, however the people who are using those normally are consumers and people who are not trained to used the device properly, therefore incorrect reading can be obtained, thus possibly giving you a passing result when you are really failing or vice versa. Most analytical labs will either perform ICP-AA, ICP-MS, or AA (Atomic absorption), what my laboratory uses to test these. I’m not going to bore anyone with what those test involved, but I will say that any legit lab will be using one of these techniques. If a lab ask for a method you would like to follow you can tell that you need to either test by AOAC lead in paint, or ASTM protocols.
Can the lab help me determine if my product is safe for release? Can they help me make changes to my production?
Generally labs will only release a report, with the guidelines and passing criteria you specify. All records will be kept for likely a minimum of 2 years just in case. But you would want to hold onto your report for years to come in case of a court case, audit whatever. Labs will not make decisions for you on what is safe and what is not, or how to change your production, they may give suggestions to help, but will never tell you how to make your product pass, as that would make the laboratory liable.
Can a lab help me determine what parts to test or interpret the law?
As many of the labs out there now are learning about the law themselves it is up to the manufacturer to already know what parts of the bike need to be tested. With the law changing constantly over the last few months and interpretations changing it is up to the client. I would recommend getting an attorney if possible to look into the new law as most of the time a lab will not want to get involved with interpretations.
How much will the testing cost?
From what I’ve seen anywhere for $5-35 a component, with likely a minimum of 5 components. My laboratory has not set up pricing yet as we are gauging the market to be competitive. Most labs will likely do a scaled pricing scheme where the more components you need tested the lower the price. Again it is up to the client to deterimine which components need to be tested. I personally don’t know how that exactly works, like a stem, if each part needs to be tested separately, like the body, faceplate, and bolts separately or if it can be tested all together.
Hopefully Tung has given you a few more indepth responses that will help some companies or industry dudes out there. I know this isn’t exactly directed towards the consumer, but the more you know about the topic, the better understanding you will have when it comes to purchase time. I would like to thank Tung Luong to take the time to do this, I appreciate it!