Lead Concerns Could Bolster Window Replacement


Window & Door
Lead Concerns Could Bolster Window Replacement

September 22, 2010

"Lead paint could be a good thing for window sales," according to Rick Nevin, a researcher involved with a project that recently received a challenge grant from the National Institute of Health.  Nevin is working with a team from the NYU School of Medicine and National Center for Healthy Housing looking at window replacement in older homes as a means to prevent lead exposure to children and increase energy efficiency.  Several demonstration weatherization projects incorporating lead safe window replacement are now underway in New York State "to document costs, verify expected benefits, and evaluate evidence of potential benefits," according to the project Web site.

Weatherization projects are often limited to adding insulation and caulking. The higher cost of replacing windows can be hard to justify based on energy savings alone, but the potential health benefits of window replacement are significant, Nevin states. Among public health officials and academics involved in the issue, there is little dispute that window surfaces in older homes typically have higher levels of lead dust than any other interior building component, he reports. Lead paint chips are common in old window troughs, and friction surfaces on old windows create lead dust hazards. The reasons are uncertain, but the data is fairly conclusive that windows represent one of the biggest lead hazards in homes built prior to the banning of lead paint in 1978, according to Nevin.

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