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November 2007 Issue

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UC Awarded $1.6 Million for Lead Hazard and Mold Studies

By Amanda Harper
Published November 2007

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded about $1.6 million in research grants to UC environmental health scientists investigating lead and mold exposure in homes.

UC was one of just four institutions in Ohio to receive a portion of the $118 million awarded nationally by HUD.

Grants were given to state and local communities, public health organizations and scientific research institutions for projects aimed at protecting children and families from dangerous lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards.

Tiina Reponen, PhD, professor of environmental health, received more than $785,000 to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the health effects of total mold exposure in children starting from infancy to age 6.

Her goal is to identify a method that can predict adverse health effects caused by residential mold exposure, most notably those related to asthma and allergic rhinitis.

In conjunction with the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), Scott Clark, PhD, professor of environmental health, is involved in two HUD grants totaling about $500,000 for studies related to lead-based paint exposure.

This new funding will allow Clark and his team to learn more about the impact of soil lead treatment on interior and exterior home dust lead levels.

It will also allow the team to assess dust and soil lead levels and paint condition in homes with different window lead remediation treatments. As a subcontractor to the NCHH, Clark will compare the results in homes where windows were replaced with levels in homes that have had other window treatment methods applied, such as paint stabilization, to determine which method is more effective at eradicating the problem long term.

Bill Menrath received a $328,000 grant to improve the accuracy of a commercially available wipe method to test for settled dust on the floors, window sills and window troughs of homes.

He believes this test might help identify the presence of lead dust hazards following renovation, repair, painting and lead hazard reduction activities. 

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