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  QUESTION: How to deal with lead oxide on leadlight windows, 19 May 2006, Victoria Australia

We have leadlight windows throughout our home, both living and bedrooms. They are probably 25 years old and have evidence of oxidation and some dust appearing. Is there any way to seal the lead in these windows or make the environment safer? I am concerned as we have two children. Should we have regular blood tests?
ANSWER: 30 May 2006

Dear David,

if your children are prone to touching the window area and then putting their fingers in their mouth then you should certainly take them to the doctor for a blood lead test. If the house was built prior to 1970 and you have a child under the age of 6 then they should be tested anyway (regardless of hand to mouth activity).

If either child has a blood lead level above 15 micrograms per decilitre (15 g/dL), then you could ask the Environmental Health Unit - Dept of Human Services Victoria (ph 03 9637 4156) to do a lead assessment of the home to discover all the sources of lead.

If there is no-one in the home who is likely to ingest lead dust then it may be sufficient to use sugar soap in water and wipe down the area around the windows once a week. IF you have someone you need to protect then the most effective way to seal the leadlights is by adding a layer of glass on the inside (presuming it is only the inside where a child would gain access to the dust on the windowsill etc. If the windows are accessible on the exterior then you have an even greater cost in sealing them with another layer of glass). There is unfortunately no sealant that we know of that is guaranteed not to peel - especially if sun shines directly on the lead calmes.

The decision about the frequency of blood lead tests is dependent on the first result.

I hope this helps and good luck with it.
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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