The lead pollution had made headlines a few months ago during the dramatic Notre-Dame de Paris fire. But in reality, many other events and industries release this heavy metal into the air, which ends up depositing on outdoor public spaces such as sidewalks, roads or children’s play areas.
Although it is difficult to quantify this invisible pollution, the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) published a report on February 7, 2020 in order to see more clearly.
ANSES believes that “the dust from outdoor public spaces contaminated with lead (sidewalks, roads, street furniture, playgrounds …) are a source of exposure for the general population to be considered”, And believes that“children and certain professionals are most likely to be exposed to this contaminated dust by contact or ingestion“.
“The priority route of exposure appears to be the ingestion of dust, especially for children who are more likely to put their hands in their mouths,” the agency added.
While mentioning the need to acquire more precise data to model the exposure to lead present in the dust deposited on the surfaces of outdoor public spaces, ANSES issued recommendations in order to limit everyone’s exposure at this toxic compound.
For the general population, ANSES refers to the preventive measures recommended by the High Council for Public Health in 2017, namely frequent hand washing, especially before eating, or the fact of take off his shoes at the entrance of his home to limit the transport of this dust in the accommodation. All the more important recommendations for young children, who tend to put everything in their mouths, starting with their hands. ANSES also recommends at-risk populations, in particular children, a blood lead test (or blood lead level).
For workers exposed to outdoor dust in a professional context, ANSES also recommends the measurement of blood lead levels, and even reinforced individual medical follow-up for those who perform tasks likely to put them in contact with lead dust.