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We now know the content of heavy metals in dust in the interior of 52 buildings in Prague!



As we informed you in “News” in June, this year in June, the Arnika non-profit organization performed dust collection in buildings in Prague (26 households and 26 public buildings, including offices, dental laboratory, painting studio, etc.) in order to determine thecontent of heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium). These heavy metals belong to hazardous substances causing serious health problems, including cancer and damage to the central nervous system, reproductive and hormonal system, digestive and excretory system. We now have the results.

The measured concentrations of heavy metals were compared to the strictest limits of the Ministry of Health for the content of heavy metals in children’s sandboxes, because there is no legislation in the Czech Republic or the EU limiting the presence of hazardous substances in interiors and children behave similarly at home and in a sandbox (near the ground, hands in the mouth).

Some selected results:

  • the concentration of lead in dust in offices is up to 10 times higher than in households
  • the source of pollution is especially the interior furnishings or building materials/paints containing lead or cadmium. It is also affected by increased presence of people, which increases the dust volume.
  • the effects of external sources of pollution (e.g. traffic, industry, dispersion) on the pollution of interior dust have not been proven.

The concentration limits of the Ministry of Health Decree in households were exceeded for lead in 15 % of cases and for mercury in 35 % of cases. In public buildings, the limit for lead was exceeded in 42 % of cases, for mercury in 46 % of cases and for cadmium in 54 % of cases. In some cases, the limit for lead and cadmium was even exceeded more than ten times. The highest values of cadmium were registered in painting studios (due to the use of pigments with a high cadmium content).

Higher lead concentrations probably come from interior furnishings – furniture and equipment containing higher lead levels (e.g. lead paints, products made of lead-stabilized PVC), but also from building materials, lead paints, etc. The amount of dust is also affected by the activity performed in the interior (increased presence of people, more dust, more heavy metals).

Heavy metals in interiors can be avoided:

  • by regular dusting and wiping the floor with hot water
  • by prohibiting smoking in enclosed spaces (cigarette smoke contains, for example, lead, cadmium and hundreds of other harmful substances)
  • by limiting gas cooking and heating with solid fuels
  • by removing old paint and plaster containing lead
  • by thoroughly storing work clothes separately from your home clothes
  • by verifying the composition of toys and home accessories (they should not contain PVC, for example)
  • by not buying cheap metal jewellery (it is often an alloy containing heavy metals).

The full report is available at http://arnika.org/v-prazskych-budovach-jsou-tezke-kovy-na-vine-je-prevazne-vnitrni-vybaveni.