Weatherization and Lead Safety

Project Funder: U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Project Partners: Rhode Island and Maryland state weatherization programs and local agencies in Indianapolis, Indiana

Project Contact: Jill Breysee,, 443.539.4155

Project Description: The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and support from Battelle Memorial Institute, partnered with state weatherization programs in Rhode Island and Maryland and with local agencies in Indianapolis, Indiana to conduct a study of the effect of weatherization activities on levels of lead in settled dust in 58 homes. Compliance with EPA clearance standards is not currently required in weatherization work. The results indicate that levels of leaded dust created by typical weatherization work in older housing with lead-based paint are likely to be well above EPA clearance levels, and therefore pose a substantial risk to children. Study findings affirm the need for areas to be cleaned after containment is removed. The floor dust lead loadings measured after final cleaning was done were not significantly different from those before work began, while window sill and trough dust lead loadings were significantly lower after work was performed. Methods of ensuring that cleanup is adequate are discussed in the report.

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