Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 343–352 | Cite as

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

  • Suzanne Beauchemin
  • Lachlan C. W. MacLean
  • Pat E. Rasmussen
Original paper


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 

Supplementary material

10653_2011_9380_MOESM1_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Appendix A: Detailed methodology for XANES, μ-XRF and μ-XRD (DOC 40 kb)
10653_2011_9380_MOESM2_ESM.doc (431 kb)
Appendix B: Molecular structure and Pb XANES spectra for selected organic Pb reference compounds (DOC 431 kb)
10653_2011_9380_MOESM3_ESM.doc (232 kb)
Appendix C: Pb XANES spectra for selected Pb organic and inorganic compounds (DOC 232 kb)
10653_2011_9380_MOESM4_ESM.doc (926 kb)
Appendix D: Micro-XRF and μ-XRD analysis for the <36-μm fraction of composite house dust sample (DOC 926 kb)


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Beauchemin
    • 1
  • Lachlan C. W. MacLean
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pat E. Rasmussen
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Resources CanadaCANMET, Mining and Mineral Sciences LaboratoriesOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Environmental Health Science and Research BureauHECSB, Health CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Canadian Light Source Inc.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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