Original paper

Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 343-352

First online:

Lead speciation in indoor dust: a case study to assess old paint contribution in a Canadian urban house

  • Suzanne BeaucheminAffiliated withNatural Resources Canada, CANMET, Mining and Mineral Sciences Laboratories Email author 
  • , Lachlan C. W. MacLeanAffiliated withEnvironmental Health Science and Research Bureau, HECSB, Health CanadaCanadian Light Source Inc., University of Saskatchewan
  • , Pat E. RasmussenAffiliated withEnvironmental Health Science and Research Bureau, HECSB, Health Canada

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Residents in older homes may experience increased lead (Pb) exposures due to release of lead from interior paints manufactured in past decades, especially pre-1960s. The objective of the study was to determine the speciation of Pb in settled dust from an urban home built during WWII. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) and micro-X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses were performed on samples of paint (380–2,920 mg Pb kg−1) and dust (200–1,000 mg Pb kg−1) collected prior to renovation. All dust samples exhibited a Pb XANES signature similar to that of Pb found in paint. Bulk XANES and micro-XRD identified Pb species commonly found as white paint pigments (Pb oxide, Pb sulfate, and Pb carbonate) as well as rutile, a titanium-based pigment, in the <150 μm house dust samples. In the dust fraction <36 μm, half of the Pb was associated with the Fe-oxyhydroxides, suggesting additional contribution of outdoor sources to Pb in the finer dust. These results confirm that old paints still contribute to Pb in the settled dust for this 65-year-old home. The Pb speciation also provided a clearer understanding of the Pb bioaccessibility: Pb carbonate > Pb oxide > Pb sulfate. This study underscores the importance of taking precautions to minimize exposures to Pb in house dust, especially in homes where old paint is exposed due to renovations or deterioration of painted surfaces.


Indoor dust Lead speciation Old paint X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy Pb XANES