Some context for better understanding the photos below:
- Consumer goods are considered toxic to children with lead (Pb) XRF readings of 90 parts per million (ppm) or more.
- The State of Wisconsin [the most progressive state on this issue] considers paint “lead paint” at 600 ppm lead and above. This level was chosen because- in 1978 – residential paint was banned from having lead at 600 ppm or greater.
- The current [obviously far less stringent] EPA/HUD standards consider paint “lead paint” at 5000 ppm lead or greater. [This is the level at which they fund remediation projects and legislation (related contractor fines and such) is engaged.]
The levels tested at this school so far (in a preliminary informal XRF testing) were as high as 180,200 ppm lead, that is more than 36 times the Federal standard for lead paint.
[There are other systems of measuring (other than ppm) lead in dust and paint to determine hazards. One is micrograms per centimer squared (usually used for dust sampling.) Another is milligrams per centimeter squared. When “micrograms per centimeter squared” readings were taken of some of these same painted wood locations (building components that were deteriorating, peeling and chipping), readings were greater than 2,211 micrograms per centimeter squared.]
A reading of the bare concrete threshold of the red door exterior with no paint or chips visible to the naked eye (pics below of door but not threshold) tested at 350 ppm lead (and 7.78 micrograms per centimeter squared.)
The white painted wood frame of that door (also not pictured) came in at 135,800 ppm lead.
Lead dust on the ground is currently considered toxic for children at a level of 40 micrograms per square foot or greater. Given there are more than 929 square cm in a square foot…
This reading is more than 180 times the level that is currently considered toxic by the EPA and more than 722 times the new recommended toxicity level for lead in floor dust [of 10 micrograms per square foot as recommended by the scientific community.]
These readings would also mean that SANDING or pulverizing just ONE square cm of the window or door trim paint could [in theory] contaminate 55 square feet of floor or ground space to the current federal standard for toxicity of lead in dust for children (40 micrograms per square foot) or contaminate more than 220 square feet to the new recommended hazard level (10 micrograms per square foot.)
Of course – if the paint is disturbed with improper containment (or event just allowed to continue to deteriorate with deferred maintenance at the current rate and level of deterioration) – more than one cm square foot of dust would (and will) be created AND this hazard would not be spread evenly around the school grounds or school interior – there would be “hot-spots.” [There are DOZENS of windows in the school and many of them are in reach of children on the ground floor from the outside play areas – and in-fact, I have seen children hop up and pull themselves up on the brick window sills – even though this behavior is not allowed/ not encouraged.]
An analogy that many scientists use (since it is difficult to understand that something can be toxic even when it is not visible) is that two sugar packets worth of lead dust if spread evenly around a football field would contaminate the football field to approximately 76 micrograms per square foot.
Thank you for reading.
[Two of my sons are supposed to attend this school next week.] Executive Director
Lead Safe America Foundation