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Original Articles

The Influence of Common Area Lead Hazards and Lead Hazard Control on Dust Lead Loadings in Multiunit Buildings

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Pages 659-666 | Published online: 24 Oct 2007

Owners of multiunit buildings built before 1978 that have interior common areas, and who receive certain forms of federal assistance are generally required to address lead-based paint hazards in those common areas. This study examines the relationships between common area paint and dust lead levels and the floor dust lead loadings in associated dwelling units, as well as the effects of lead hazard control treatments in common areas. This article presents data from common areas in 145 low-income, mostly pre-1940, multiunit buildings with 342 associated dwellings in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Lead Hazard Control Grant Program at preintervention, clearance, and 1-year postintervention. Interior common areas in these multiunit buildings were not as well maintained as the dwellings in the buildings. At preintervention, a higher percent of the interior common areas had non-intact, lead-based paint on windows, doors and trim, and other interior components than in associated dwellings (95% versus 85%; 78% versus 67%; and 85% versus 62%). Common areas had preintervention entry and interior (i.e., nonentry) floor dust lead loadings more than four times higher than in dwelling units (128 versus 30 μ g/ft2; 130 versus 28 μ g/ft2) while 1-year postintervention common area dust lead loadings are four to six times that of dwelling dust lead loadings (41 versus 11 μ g/ft2; 44 versus 8 μ g/ft2). Windowsill dust lead loadings in common areas were twice the loadings in dwelling units at preintervention and 1-year postintervention (756 versus 383 μ g/ft2; 154 versus 68 μ g/ft2). Interior common area treatments reduced geometric mean common entry dust lead loadings 71% from preintervention to clearance, and maintained those reduced levels from clearance to 1-year postintervention. Higher level interventions were not more effective than low-level interventions in reducing preintervention levels to clearance or 1-year postintervention. This study demonstrates that interior common areas in the multiunit buildings examined contain substantial amounts of deteriorated lead-based paint and dust. Remediation of common areas can effectively reduce those hazards.


A Geometric standard deviation in parentheses; n = number of dwellings/commons.

A Geometric standard deviation in parentheses.

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