Journal Article

Window renovation and exposure to lead—an observational study

Howard Mason, Frank Gallagher and Dil Sen

in Occupational Medicine

Published on behalf of Society of Occupational Medicine

Volume 55, issue 8, pages 631-634
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 0962-7480
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1471-8405 | DOI:
Window renovation and exposure to lead—an observational study

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Background Renovation of windows in old houses has recently established itself as an industry. A recognizable occupational lead exposure exists, which has not been studied previously.

Aim To compare lead exposure amongst window renovators with other groups of lead-exposed workers.

Methods Using blood lead results measured at the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), Sheffield, comparisons were made between three cohorts: window renovation workers, all male workers monitored by HSL during the period 1999–2001 and 63 male subjects involved in chemical paint-stripping of wood.

Results Both the window renovation and the wood-stripping cohorts show significantly higher blood lead distributions than the ‘all workers’ cohort (P < 0.001). A similar pattern was also found for comparison of the prevalence of subjects above the UK suspension level of 60 μg/dl (2.89 μM) (window renovation, P < 0.001; wood-stripping, P < 0.0001). Blood lead results at or above the suspension level in wood-strippers were significantly higher compared to window renovators (P = 0.034).

Conclusion Window renovation is shown to present a potential for significant lead exposure, and suspension from work under The Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. Two groups of risk factors predominate: the well-documented potential for release of lead from old paint, and the peripatetic nature of the work.

Keywords: Law and legislation; lead; lead exposure

Journal Article.  2421 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupational Medicine

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