Lead Exterior Dust on Porches: Its Significance and Control

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

Project Partners: University of Rochester and the City of Rochester

Project Contact: Jonathan Wilson, jwilson@nchh.org, 443.539.4162

Project Description

This study measured settled dust lead on exterior porch floors at homes undergoing lead hazard control in Rochester, New York. Wipe samples were collected before work, immediately after lead hazard control, and one year post-work. The study also examined housing, neighborhood, and soil data. Seventy-nine homes had complete data collected.

Baseline porch floor dust lead loading was 68 µg/ft2, more than three times the baseline interior floor dust lead (18 µg/ft2). Immediate post-work dust lead on porches declined 55% after porch floor replacement and 53% after porch floor paint stabilization. When no porch floor work was conducted but lead hazard control was conducted elsewhere, immediate post-work porch dust lead increased 97%. At one year, dust lead on porches continued to decline for porch replacement (77% below baseline) and paint stabilization (72% below baseline), but where no porch floor work was done, one-year porch dust lead levels were not significantly different than at baseline. Modeling determined that replacement resulted in significantly lower one-year porch dust lead levels than stabilization when baseline porch dust lead levels were higher than 148 µg/ft2 (the 77th percentile) but not at lower levels. Treating porches that have lead paint resulted in substantial declines in porch dust lead levels. It is of concern that porch dust lead levels increased significantly at immediate post-work when lead hazard control was not conducted on the porch but was conducted elsewhere. Standards for porch lead dust should be adopted to protect children from inadequate clean-up after lead hazard control.


Abstract: An Investigation into Porch Dust Lead LevelsEnvironmental Research, 137, pp. 129-135.
Wilson, J., Dixon, S. L., Jacobs, D. E., Akoto, J. Korfmacher, K. S., and Breysse, J. February 2015.

Press Release: Porches an Overlooked Lead Hazard. January 28, 2015.


Latest page update: September 5, 2022.