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QUESTION: Ceiling dust can cause lead poisoning 16 Oct 2008 NSW,  Australia

I have lived in this house for more than ten years. This is a old house and I have been renting here so far.

This house had leakage in ceilings in most rooms including bedroom kitchen and living areas. I just learnt that ceiling dust can cause lead poisoning.

What shall I do? Can i get a self testing kit?

I also have a 4 year old daughter who has several symptoms but we don't know what is causing it.

I am 53 and have got skin allergies but still unknown what caused it. I also have calcium plaques in my arteries according to the recent tests done by my cardiologist.

Please let me know.

ANSWER: 09 Mar 2009

Dear Francis

Apologies for the delay in response to your e-mail. We did not have enough staff to reply to all the questions we get.

If you feel that you or your child may have been exposed to lead the only reliable way of knowing is to have a blood lead test conducted. Ask your GP. This is a free test if the doctor can mark the pathology report for bulk-bill.

If the blood lead levels are higher than 2 micrograms per decilitre, then we would recommend that you test the lead level in the dust. It is important to know how much lead is in the dust, as this will determine how you will go about dealing with it (if anything needs to be done at all.). You can take a sample from the dust on the floor to test. If you go to Do_It_Yourself_Lead_Safe_Test_Kits which you can use for that.

WARNING!! We do not recommend do-it-yourself ceiling dust removal as it is dirty, dangerous and requires special equipment.

Regarding the allergy, it might be caused by other particles in the ceiling dust such as fibreglass insulation fibres and not likely to be the lead.


Iman Hegazi, MBBS, MD. Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Volunteer

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