Environnement, Risques & Santé


Children's lead exposure at home. The Plomb-Habitat Project (2008-2014): principal results, impact, and perspectives. Volume 14, issue 1, January-February 2015


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1 École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP)
Sorbonne Paris Cité
Avenue du professeur Léon-Bernard
35043 Rennes Cedex
2 Irset (Institut de recherche sur la santé, l’environnement et le travail)
Avenue du professeur Léon-Bernard
35043 Rennes Cedex
3 Université Paris-Est
Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment (CSTB)
4 Hôpital Lariboisière (AP-HP)
Laboratoire de toxicologie biologique
2, rue Ambroise Paré
75010 Paris
5 Institut de veille sanitaire (InVS)
12, rue du val d’Osne
94410 Saint-Maurice
6 ISA Lille
Laboratoire génie civil et géoenvironnement (LGCgE)
48, boulevard Vauban
59046 Lille Cedex
* Tirés à part

Exposure levels to environmental lead have dropped significantly over the past years in France. It nevertheless remains a public health concern due to the high prevalence of exposure and the absence of any known threshold for effects. The objectives of the Plomb-Habitat project were to identify the sources of lead in French dwellings, their associations with blood lead levels, and to test both measurement techniques and methods for identifying lead sources. For the first time in France, environmental measurements, conducted in 484 households representative of the 3.6 million dwellings with at least one child aged six months to six years, have made it possible to describe the lead contamination in tap water, settled dust, paints, outdoor playgrounds, common areas, and traditional ceramic dishes as well as traditional cosmetics. With the Saturn’Inf survey of the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning, Plomb-Habitat has also helped to: i) identify the environmental determinants of blood lead levels, ii) study how the determination of isotopic ratios of lead in environmental compartments and blood can help to identify exposure sources, and finally iii) compare the information provided by the analysis of total and leachable fractions of lead. The development of a model to predict blood lead levels may help to set guideline values for lead in drinking water, settled dust, and outdoor soil. This corpus of data and results can now be used as a foundation for public decision-making in on-going efforts to reduce children's lead exposure.