The contribution of lead-contaminated house dust and residential soil to children's blood lead levels. A pooled analysis of 12 epidemiologic studies

Environ Res. 1998 Oct;79(1):51-68. doi: 10.1006/enrs.1998.3859.


In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, which requires the promulgation of health-based dust lead and soil lead standards for residential dwellings to prevent undue lead exposure in children. Unfortunately, the levels of lead in house dust and soil that are associated with elevated blood lead levels among U.S. children remain poorly defined. This pooled analysis was done to estimate the contributions of lead-contaminated house dust and soil to children's blood lead levels. The results of this pooled analysis, the most comprehensive existing epidemiologic analysis of childhood lead exposure, confirm that lead-contaminated house dust is the major source of lead exposure for children. These analyses further demonstrate that a strong relationship between interior dust lead loading and children's blood lead levels persists at dust lead levels considerably below the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's current postabatement standards and the Environmental Protection Agency's guidance levels. Finally, these analyses demonstrate that a child's age, race, mouthing behaviors, and study-site specific factors influence the predicted blood lead level at a given level of exposure. These data can be used to estimate the potential health impact of alternative health-based lead standards for residential sources of lead exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / standards*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Household Work
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Models, Statistical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Paint / analysis
  • Soil / analysis*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population


  • Dust
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Soil
  • Lead