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Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2002 Sep;17(9):628-33.

Prevalence and location of teeth marks observed on painted surfaces in an evaluation of the HUD lead hazard control grant program.

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Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Data from an evaluation of the HUD Lead Hazard Control Grant Program were used to evaluate the prevalence and location of teeth marks on painted surfaces in residential housing. The results of these analyses will be useful in the development of more effective pediatric lead poisoning prevention programs. These programs have historically placed considerable emphasis on surfaces accessible to children for mouthing activities. This study analyzes the largest set of data ever assembled on the prevalence of teeth marks in housing. Data from 308,851 observations in 3,454 housing units were analyzed to determine the prevalence of teeth mark observations per surface, dwelling unit, and building component, and by housing age, inspector, and grantee. An average of 4.0 teeth marks per 10,000 surfaces with paint-lead greater than or equal to 1.0 mg/cm2 were observed. For surfaces with less than 1.0 mg/cm2 lead the rate was 1.5 teeth marks/10,000 surfaces. The number of teeth marks per 10,000 surfaces increased with age of housing for surfaces with 1.0 mg/cm2 or higher lead but not for surfaces with less than 1.0 mg/cm2 lead. Teeth mark observation rates were 36 times higher for windowsills than for other components and ranged up to 11 per 10,000 surfaces and 9 dwellings per 100 dwelling units for 2 grantees with the highest rates. Blood lead levels in children exhibiting moderate to high mouthing behavior were higher than in children without such behavior, especially in housing where teeth marks were observed. Special priority should be given to windowsills when making decisions on lead hazard control for "accessible," "chewable," or "mouthable" surfaces.

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