Households across Sydney’s inner west and CBD have been discovered to contain potentially dangerous levels of lead, according to new research by Macquarie University.
Students at the university analysed the contents of vacuum cleaners across 224 properties for a range of toxins and pollutants.
From that study, researchers have estimated that up to one in five toddlers have elevated levels of lead in their systems, accumulated via ingesting or inhaling dust containing contaminants.
Lead poisoning can have long-term health consequences and children are particularly vulnerable if they’re exposed early in life, as it can affect development, lower IQ and potentially even disable them.
Homes with the highest levels of lead are often homes that are older, with degrading lead paint and homes with recent renovations, while homes with contaminated soil and traffic pollution also tested poorly.
“It tells us a story about what’s inside our homes as well as what’s outside our homes, and it’s really interesting because our homes are accumulators and collectors many toxic elements,” Professor Mark Taylor from Macquarie University said.
Families living in Campbelltown, the Sutherland Shire, Blacktown and Liverpool have among the lowest levels of toxic metal in their homes, while SUmmer Hill recorded the highest levels across the city.
The study has been published in the science journal Environment International, and researches are seeking more participants to broaden the study. To take part in dust research, visit here.