More Lead on Porches Than in Homes, Study Finds
Porches on older homes can be a significant source of lead dust, according to a recent study.
Katrina Korfmacher is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at University of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center. She participated in the study, in which samples were taken from 79 houses across Rochester.
"The first major finding was that porches do tend to have higher lead levels than indoor floors, so that's significant when children are playing on the porches."
Laws regulating lead in households have focused mainly on the interior of the home, but this study shows homeowners need to be mindful of their exterior environment as well. Korfmacher says in urban environments, where kids use the porch as a front yard, they can increase their risk of exposure to this harmful neurotoxin.
"Children who are exposed to lead can face a whole range of health problems later in life from neurodevelopment to problems with their bones, their behavior, their learning. Every system of the body can be affected by lead and we're particularly concerned about kids."
But, she says, there are steps you can take to make your porch safer.
"The most important thing is to keep paint intact and to clean surfaces regularly."
Korfmacher says it is also important to thoroughly clean up after construction projects, which can free lead dust out onto the porch.
Lead is a reality of our urban environments, Korfmacher says, and it's important to continue to look for ways to keep ourselves, and our kids, safe.
The study was done as part of a grant from US Department of Housing and Urban Development, in partnership with the National Center for Healthy Housing and the University of Rochester.