Does Vintage Drum Paint Contain Lead?

NewVintage

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
559
Reaction score
32
Location
Kansas City, Mo
I love my 60’s duco Ludwigs. But as many know the paint tends to shed over the years and my kit is no exception. My wife and I have our first child on the way and it’s got me thinking about various hazards around the house. I do have a drum room that it won’t be allowed into for some time but still want to be cautious since children are particularly vulnerable. So all that said “does my drum paint contain lead?” Thanks for the help!
 

thin shell

DFO Master
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
1,006
It is very possible. Best way to find out is to buy a lead test kit at your home center. Test both the duco and the white paint on the inside to be sure on both although the white paint doesn't tend to flake off.
 

NewVintage

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
559
Reaction score
32
Location
Kansas City, Mo
Lead paint has a sweet taste.....that's how you know! :D
I can send you some samples to test if you’re interested, haha.

Nobody in the drum community never really talks about the paint having lead. It’s mentioned all the time with old houses and stuff. Hopefully it doesn’t. But if it does maybe I knock off the loose stuff and have a thin layer of clear applied?
 

Rock Salad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
477
Reaction score
286
Location
Tulsa, Ok. USA
Right on! Good looking out future Dad.
Top coating lead paints is a common fix. Be careful if you use lacquer because it can activate the old du-co paint and smear it.
 

NewVintage

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
559
Reaction score
32
Location
Kansas City, Mo
I saw a previous post asking the question but never anything definitive. Ron M tested some Slingerland ducos and they were negative. Most are saying it probably has lead but it'd sure be nice to confirm. I guess I'll buy a test kit and try it out unless anyone else had a good answer.
 

Ron_M

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
1,963
Reaction score
149
Location
Burlington, VT
I haven't seen any data that supports the belief that most vintage drums were painted with leaded paint. Still might be true, though. I've only tested a 60s era Slingerland kit, and a separate snare (both duco paint),and neither tested positive for lead.

The only way to truly know is to buy a test kit and check it yourself. The 3M Lead Check swabs are EPA approved.
 

NewVintage

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
559
Reaction score
32
Location
Kansas City, Mo
Thanks everyone!

I agree with the above, the information I've found indicates it does NOT contain lead. It seems Ludwig and Slingerland were likely using the same DuPont brand hence the "Duco" name....Kind of like they were all using Delmar wrap at one point. One poster mentioned that DuPont used a natural based powdered pigment for color.

I'm no expert so please don't take it as "fact" but just reporting what I've read.

If someone has tested and gotten a "positive" on their drums please let me/us know! I'll test the Ludwig's and report but everything I've read indicates Duco finishes should NOT contain any lead.
 

el_37

Very well Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2009
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
183
Location
NYC
Having had a child who tested high for lead as an infant- but luckily was a one time anomaly that quickly went down- we went on a rampage in our 1917 house with lead test kits trying to find the culprit.

What we narrowed it down to wasn't even inside the house- we had chipping old lead based paint on the back porch that was most likely dragged in via our dogs or our shoes. Best theory we came up with was our daughter grabbed a chip off the floor and ate it- which accounted for the high initial reading and low readings almost immediately after which showed she was not getting exposed to lead on a constant basis. Under local law she had to be tested often until she was 3 after the high reading and she never tested high again. We stripped and repainted the entire porch.

We found some other spots in random places but there was no dust/chips- but almost everything was sealed up. Long as your drums are not chipping- you will be fine. If you are really worried about this- set them up on a drop cloth and monitor them over the next few months- you will immediately see if flakes of paint are falling.

If your house is pre 1978- there are far more pressing areas to check as possible culprits than your drums. Spend a few bucks on kits and check.
 

Fullerton 9/72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
373
Reaction score
183
Location
Florida USA
Did the surplus automotive trunk paint, that Rogers painted their drum-interiors, with contain lead - or did they "fill it up with unleaded"?
 

NewVintage

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
559
Reaction score
32
Location
Kansas City, Mo
Having had a child who tested high for lead as an infant- but luckily was a one time anomaly that quickly went down- we went on a rampage in our 1917 house with lead test kits trying to find the culprit.

What we narrowed it down to wasn't even inside the house- we had chipping old lead based paint on the back porch that was most likely dragged in via our dogs or our shoes. Best theory we came up with was our daughter grabbed a chip off the floor and ate it- which accounted for the high initial reading and low readings almost immediately after which showed she was not getting exposed to lead on a constant basis. Under local law she had to be tested often until she was 3 after the high reading and she never tested high again. We stripped and repainted the entire porch.

We found some other spots in random places but there was no dust/chips- but almost everything was sealed up. Long as your drums are not chipping- you will be fine. If you are really worried about this- set them up on a drop cloth and monitor them over the next few months- you will immediately see if flakes of paint are falling.

If your house is pre 1978- there are far more pressing areas to check as possible culprits than your drums. Spend a few bucks on kits and check.
I’m glad your daughter is okay! That must have been stressful. My house is newer that 1978 so the only thing “old” in my house is the drums. The paint peels some but they don’t move much. I’m going to test them with the 3M kit and see what it says.
 

JazzDrumGuy

DFO Star
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
9,435
Reaction score
1,838
Location
Pebble Beach, CA
Likely yes. But unless the baby will be suckling on the paint, likely no danger to el bebe. I have 2 dudes and no issues here in a house full of vintage drums.....congrats!
 

el_37

Very well Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2009
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
183
Location
NYC
I’m glad your daughter is okay! That must have been stressful. My house is newer that 1978 so the only thing “old” in my house is the drums. The paint peels some but they don’t move much. I’m going to test them with the 3M kit and see what it says.
It was- but thankfully she had an excellent pediatrician who stressed patience to see if it was an anomaly. NYC also sent a health inspector to the house, who also stressed the fact that we weren't being persecuted and he also could not find anything out of the ordinary in our home and also felt it was most likely an anomaly. Thankfully it was.
 

Latest posts



Top