Comparison of a wipe and a vacuum collection method for the determination of lead in residential dusts

Mark R. Farfel, Peter S.J. Lees, Charles A. Rohde, Benjamin S. Lim, Desmond Bannon, J. Julian Chisolm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Lead-containing house dust is an important source of childhood lead exposure. Standard methods for collection of settled dust for evaluation of lead content have not been established. Little is known about the relationships between the various wipe and vacuum-based methods employed in past studies, preventing meaningful comparisons of results. This study characterized the relationship between a frequently used wipe dust collection method and a vacuum-based in-line filter method used to collect dust in a national survey of lead in paint and dust in U.S. housing. The correlation coefficient was 0.82 for estimates of lead loadings (PbD, mg/m2) from 71 pairs of side-by-side wipe and vacuum dust samples collected from uncarpeted floors, window sills, and exterior window wells in six dwellings. Geometric mean (GM) wipe PbD estimates exceeded those for vacuum samples by a factor of 3.9 and 5.7 for floors and window sills, respectively, findings consistent with the multiple sources of sample loss associated with the vacuum sampler. For window wells, the GM vacuum PbD estimate exceeded the GM wipe PbD estimate by a factor of 3.4, possibly due to the use of an alternative vacuum nozzle. The resulting increase in the estimated prevalence of U.S. homes with elevated dust lead loadings had wipe-sampling instead of vacuum-sampling methods been used in the national survey is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-301
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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