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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2012;9(4):280-7. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2012.668489.

Lead exposures from varnished floor refinishing.

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  • 1Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Abstract

We evaluated the presence of lead in varnish and factors predicting lead exposure from floor refinishing and inexpensive dust suppression control methods. Lead in varnish, settled dust, and air were measured using XRF, laboratory analysis of scrape and wipe samples, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 7300, respectively, during refinishing (n = 35 homes). Data were analyzed using step-wise logistic regression. Compared with federal standards, no lead in varnish samples exceeded 1.0 mg/cm(2), but 52% exceeded 5000 ppm and 70% of settled dust samples after refinishing exceeded 40 μg/ft(2). Refinishing pre-1930 dwellings or stairs predicted high lead dust on floors. Laboratory analysis of lead in varnish was significantly correlated with airborne lead (r = 0.23, p = 0.014). Adding dust collection bags into drum sanders and HEPA vacuums to edgers and buffers reduced mean floor lead dust by 8293 μg Pb/ft(2) (p<0.05) on floors and reduced most airborne lead exposures to less than 50 μg/m(3). Refinishing varnished surfaces in older housing produces high but controllable lead exposures.

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