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Environ Res. 2006 Feb;100(2):276-83. Epub 2005 Aug 15.

Lead dust in Broken Hill homes: effect of remediation on indoor lead levels.

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  • 1Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney, PO Box 457, Broken Hill, NSW, 2880, Australia.


This study was undertaken to determine whether home remediation effectively reduced indoor lead levels in Broken Hill, a long-established silver-lead-zinc mining town in outback Australia. A before-after study of the effect of home remediation on indoor lead levels was embedded into a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of remediation for reducing elevated blood lead levels in young children. Moist towelettes were used to measure lead loading (microg/m2) on internal windowsills and internal and entry floors of 98 homes; samples were collected before, immediately after, and 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 months after remediation. Data were log(10) transformed for the analysis. Remediation reduced average indoor lead levels by approximately 50%, and lead levels remained low for the duration of the follow-up period (10 months). The greatest gains were made in homes with the highest initial lead levels; homes with low preremediation lead levels showed little or no benefit. Before remediation, homes located in areas with high soil lead levels or with "poor" dust proofing had higher lead levels than those in areas with lower soil lead levels or with "medium" or "good" dust proofing; these relative differences remained after remediation. There was no evidence that lead loading was reduced by an increased opportunity to become aware of lead issues. We conclude that remediation is an effective strategy for reducing the lead exposure of children living in homes with high indoor lead levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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