Research in Engineering and Aviation

Removal of lead contaminated dusts from hard surfaces.” Environmental science & technology


Author(s): Lewis, R. D., Condoor, S., Batek, J., Ong, K. H., Backer, D., Sterling, D., & Ashley, P.

Journal: Environmental science & technology, 40(2), 590-594. DOI: 10.1021/es050803s


Government guidelines have widely recommended trisodium phosphate (TSP) or “lead-specific” cleaning detergents for removal of lead-contaminated dust (LCD) from hard surfaces, such as floors and window areas. The purpose of this study was to determine if low-phosphate, non-lead-specific cleaners could be used to efficiently remove LCD from 3 types of surfaces (vinyl flooring, wood, and wallpaper). Laboratory methods were developed and validated for simulating the doping, embedding, and sponge cleaning of the 3 surface types with 4 categories of cleaners:  lead-specific detergents, nonionic cleaners, anionic cleaners, and trisodium phosphate (TSP). Vinyl flooring and wood were worn using artificial means. Materials were ashed, followed by ultrasound extraction, and anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV). One-way analysis of variance approach was used to evaluate the surface and detergent effects. Surface type was found to be a significant factor in removal of lead (p < 0.001). Vinyl flooring cleaned better than wallpaper by over 14% and wood cleaned better than wallpaper by 13%. There was no difference between the cleaning action of vinyl flooring and wood. No evidence was found to support the use of TSP or lead-specific detergents over all-purpose cleaning detergents for removal of lead-contaminated dusts. No-phosphate, non-lead-specific detergents are effective in sponge cleaning of lead-contaminated hard surfaces and childhood lead prevention programs should consider recommending all-purpose household detergents for removal of lead-contaminated dust after appropriate vacuuming.