Housing Tenants Contact Number - 01245204871

News

Dust wipe sampling for lead contamination

If you would like to find out more about any of Environtec’s services, please get in touch. With offices and laboratories across the UK, we can help you wherever you are located.

T: 01245 381900
E: enquiries@environtec.com

There is now a greater awareness of the dangers of lead and the need for risk assessments of lead hazard. However, guidelines are vague on how to measure the risk. Here we outline why we use dust wipe sampling to determine lead contamination.

What lead risk assessment should be carried out?

The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 (CLAW) place a duty on employers to prevent or where this is not reasonably practicable, to control employee exposure to lead.

CLAW suggests that airborne lead levels should be checked regularly while working. Although, you could argue this is more relevant to factory environments, rather than building sites.

Common sense, and indeed some US studies, show that fine lead dust will drop out of the air within the hour. This dust will then settle on exposed surfaces and create a different lead hazard. One now more likely to be walked around or picked up on hands, rather than inhaled. 

How can dust wipes confirm lead hazard?

Dust wipe samples are taken using a small fibre wipe. This is then analysed in a laboratory, by first dissolving it in acid. The analysers are very sensitive, registering tiny amounts of lead, but the thresholds are also very low (see below).

In the US, you cannot be in receipt of certain federal grants for renovations, unless you have the property clearance tested using dust wipes. The UK is currently someway behind this, not formally using these dust measurements, even in domestic properties. But, it makes good sense to have an idea of dust contamination, as incoming occupants deserve a pristine environment.

How can we use dust wipes?

Dust wipes can be used before work starts, to indicate whether you are inheriting a contaminated building. This is called baselining.

When work is completed, dust wipes can be used to show the client that you are handing back a building free of lead contamination. This is called clearance testing.

So, while destructive paint chip sampling or non-destructive XRF sampling can determine whether there is a passive lead paint hazard in situ, dust wipe sampling will reveal if there is a more active lead hazard, such as dust present.

Further information on lead legislation

Get in touch

We will only use your information to provide the services requested. For more information on how we use your information, please see our privacy notice.

Head Office

T: +44 (O) 1245 381900
E: enquiries@environtec.com

Environtec Wales

T: +44 (0) 1633 262922
E: enquiries@environtec.com

Environtec Central

T: +44 (O) 1623 757189
E: enquiries@environtec.com

Environtec North East

T: +44 (O) 191487 3236
E: enquiries@environtec.com

Environtec Scotland

T: +44 (0) 1698 421898
E: enquiries@environtec.com

Environtec Ltd is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory (No. 0197) and inspection body (No. 2030).

Our accreditation is limited to those activities described on our UKAS schedule of accreditation.