Lead contamination in French children's homes and environment

Publié le 1 Juillet 2012
Mis à jour le 09 Septembre 2019

Lead in homes is a well-known source of childhood lead exposure, which is still of concern due to the health effects of low lead doses. This study aims to describe lead contamination in the homes of children aged 6 months to 6 years in France (without overseas). Between October 2008 and August 2009, 484 housing units were investigated. Lead in tap water and total and leachable lead levels from floor dust, outdoor soils and paint chips were measured. X-ray fluorescence measurements were carried out on non-metallic and metallic substrates. Nationwide results are provided. The indoor floor dust lead (PbD) geometric mean (GM) was 8.8Œg/m² (0.8Œg/ft²) and 6.8Œg/m² (0.6Œg/ft²) for total and leachable lead respectively; 0.21% of homes had an indoor PbD loading above 430.5Œg/m² (40Œg/ft²). The outdoor play area concentration GM was 33.5mg/kg and 21.7mg/kg in total and leachable lead respectively; 1.4% of concentrations were higher than or equal to 400mg/kg. Outdoor floor PbD GM was 44.4Œg/m² (4.1Œg/ft²) that was approximately 3.2 times higher than the GM of indoor PbD. Lead-based paint (LBP) was present in 25% of dwellings, LBP on only non-metallic substrates was present in 19% of homes and on metallic substrates in 10% of dwellings. The GM of lead concentrations in tap water was below 1Œg/L; 58% of concentrations were lower than 1Œg/L and 2.9% were higher than or equal to 10Œg/L. The age cut-off for homes with lead would be 1974 for paint and 1993 for indoor floor dust. This study provides, for the first time, a look at the state of lead contamination to which children are exposed in French housing. Moreover, it provides policy makers an estimate of the number of French dwellings sheltering children where abatement should be conducted.

Auteur : Lucas JP, Le Bot B, Glorennec P, Etchevers A, Bretin P, Douay F, Sebille V, Bellanger L, Mandin C
Environmental research, 2012, n°. 116, p. 58-65