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Detroit’s Building Demolition Program Raises Lead Dust Exposure Concerns

EMSL Analytical provides testing services and sampling supplies to identify lead and other harmful airborne pollutants caused by demolition activities.

Ann Arbor, MI – WEBWIRE
EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations
EMSL Analytical, Inc. Laboratory Locations

In December, the Detroit Free Press published an article about Detroit’s ongoing efforts to demolish abandoned homes and buildings. The program has already removed thousands of unsightly and dangerous structures, but the article questions if the program is also creating potential health hazards due to clouds of lead dust.  

Most of the buildings being razed are old and were constructed before a ban was placed on the use of lead-based paints that went into effect in the late 1970s. As these structures are torn down and carted away, a tremendous amount of dust can be generated that could contain lead as well as other hazardous materials such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and asbestos.  

Under the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, contractors who renovate or partially demolish pre-1978 residential buildings must be lead-safe certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and use lead-safe practices. However, this rule does not apply to the total demolition of a structure.  

“Anytime an old building is being demolished, there is the potential for not only demolition contractors to be at risk of exposure to hazardous materials, but also for anyone who works or lives nearby due to these materials being aerosolized,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Dusts containing lead, asbestos, PCBs and other substances can be an immediate inhalation concern as well as a long term issue because these dusts will eventually settle on people’s property or infiltration nearby homes and businesses.”   

To help prevent exposure risks due to hazardous materials, chemicals and microbial contaminants, EMSL Analytical offers environmental testing services. Testing is instrumental for identifying potential hazards before demolition activities take place, during the demolition itself, and to ensure no risks remain for the community after the project is completed. EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about demolition projects and air quality concerns that can be seen at:  

To learn more about testing for lead, asbestos, PCBs or other air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 

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 lead dust
 lead testing
 building demolition

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