Lead Exterior Dust on Porches: Its Significance and Control

Project Funder: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Project Partners: The University of Rochester and the City of Rochester

Project Contact: Jonathan Wilson, jwilson@nchh.org, 443.539.4162

Project Description: Many porches are painted with paints high in lead. These porches are exposed to the elements, which in northern climates can be extreme and may result in rapid deterioration. Lead in porch dust can be high, and anecdotal evidence suggests that children may be exposed to high levels of lead dust either directly (i.e., while playing on porches) or indirectly (from dust tracked into the home). There is no established porch lead dust standard. Neither HUD nor EPA has required clearance wipe sampling on exterior surfaces, citing a lack of evidence, although HUD has published guidance on the matter. This study examines the significance and appropriate response to porch dust.  A porch dust standard could be a valuable measure of the adequacy of clean-up after exterior lead hazard control work.  It would also serve as a useful marker of exterior risk, regardless of source.