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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2004

Lead Blood Levels in Children

Q. Wipe samples ( qualitative tests ) were taken from from the surface drain bathtub with some porcelain enammel missing. The lab results showed 192.2 ug/ft2. This was not a quantitive test that included TWA, Size of tub, hours per bath, etc. Would this be enough to give elevated lead blood levels of 20.3 ug/decliter in a child with from an age of 1-5 years old, when an acceptable level for a child is 10.0 ug/decliter? Do you think there could be something else to cause this elevated level? Lead paint chips, playground soil, cookware, additional exposures. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thank you.

Thank you for your e-mail. I'm not an industrial hygienist or toxicologist and therefore your question relating to blood levels should be directed to those professionals. On the other hand, I work with paints and coatings and am able to discuss if lead is present in a coating. Generally, coatings that have been manufactured after the nineteen sixties do not contain lead compounds, although I'm not in a position to discuss lead contents in porcelain enamel since this is not my field.

Of course it is possible that children can find small paint flakes that originated in the nineteen seventies, or perhaps even earlier.

If you would like to discuss this matter further with me please don't hesitate to call or write again.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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