Household cleaners effectively remove lead-laden dust

Dec 15, 2005

All-purpose detergents remove lead-contaminated dust from household surfaces just as effectively as high phosphate detergents and lead-specific cleaning products, according to new research scheduled for publication in the Jan. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal.

The researchers, led by Roger D. Lewis, Ph.D., CIH, of the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, tested how well various detergents removed lead from three common household surfaces: vinyl flooring, wood and wallpaper. They determined that all-purpose floor detergents containing no phosphate did just as well as a more expensive lead-specific product and trisodium phosphate (TSP), a less environmentally friendly substance. Lead-specific cleaners or TSP have long been recommended for lead removal.

Of the approximately 100 million housing units in the United States, about 24 million have significant levels of lead in dust, soil and paint, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). New HUD guidelines, to be released in 2006, will incorporate the findings from this research, according to Lewis. The study was funded by HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Control.

Source: American Chemical Society

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