Lead Dust Cleaning Study in Vermont

Project Funder: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Project Partners: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Tohn Environmental Strategies, and the University of Cincinnati

Project Contact: Sherry Dixon, sdixon@nchh.org, 443.539.4156

Project Description

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that all walls, ceilings, floors, and other horizontal surfaces be cleaned using a three-step process to reduce lead-contaminated dust and debris following lead hazard control interventions. The steps are to perform an initial vacuuming using a machine equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (HEPA vacuum), a wet wash, and a final HEPA vacuuming.

Cleaning procedures were evaluated in 27 dwelling units that had undergone significant lead hazard control interventions likely to produce lead dust. The results of the study demonstrate that dust lead surface loading on smooth and cleanable surfaces following the three-step and two-step cleaning procedures can achieve compliance with 1995 federal guidance dust clearance levels and levels substantially lower. Although the dust lead clearance rates before and after the second HEPA vacuum were the same, the time saved by omitting the second HEPA is small relative to the other elements of the cleaning process.


Dixon, S., Tohn, E., Rupp, R., & Clark, S. (1999, May). Achieving dust lead clearance standards after lead hazard control projects: An evaluation of the HUD-recommended procedure and an abbreviated alternative. Journal of Applied and Occupational Hygiene, 14(5), 339-344.

Dixon, S., Tohn, E., Rupp, R., & Clark, S. (1999). How much cleaning is enough? An evaluation of alternative post-lead hazard intervention cleaning procedures. Columbia, MD: National Center for Healthy Housing.

Related Resources

Tohn, E., Dixon, S. L., Rupp, R., & Clark, S. (2000, May). A pilot study examining changes in dust lead loading on walls and ceilings after lead hazard control interventions. Environmental Health Perspectives, 108(5), 453-456.


Latest page update: July 25, 2018.