Concern For Lead (Pb) In Ceramic Tile.

Below is a re-post of a post I originally shared on Facebook on December 16, 2014.

This came across the wire today – VERY INTERESTING:

A report by the Ceramic Tile Institute of America, Inc., “CTIOA Field Report 2000-11-20” is of interest. The Study subject matter is stated as: “Ceramic tile lead hazards and miscellaneous other lead risks in residential remodeling and construction”.

A key sentence of the CTIOA report reads as: “The crushing, abrading or shattering of a (lead) glaze can release fine dust in which the lead becomes bioavailable”, and the report does a good job of describing the many factors that can affect the bioavailability of lead in deteriorated glaze and other common leaded components. This report is available at

Here’s an excerpt from the HUD Guidelines, Second Edition July 2012, Page 7-21:

4. Ceramic Tile and Other Fixtures Some inspectors and risk assessors test non-paint surfaces such as unpainted ceramic tile and porcelain bathtubs for lead content because these items may be a source of lead exposure during demolition or renovation. These items are not considered lead-based paint; their presence does not need to be included in disclosure under the Lead Disclosure Rule (see Appendix 6).

Click here for posts with some tile I have tested.

Lead-containing ceramic tile is not a common cause for childhood lead poisoning. However, surface abrading and demolition activities such as breaking or crushing may release lead. For this reason, some inspectors and risk assessors include ceramic tile and bathtubs in pre-rehabilitation inspections/risk assessments and reference the OSHA lead in construction standard (29 CFR 1926.62) in their reports (see Appendix 6).

Ceramic tiles are still available with lead glaze; these are being sold and installed in homes. HUD’s American Healthy Homes Survey found some tiles with lead loadings of 1.0 mg/cm2 or more in homes built after 1977. (HUD, 2011)

Vincent Coluccio, DrPH
Vincent Coluccio Associates, Inc.
Red Hook, NY

The kitchen counter tiles pictured below are from my friend Nancy’s house in Berkeley, California (in the Oakland hills on the Berkeley/Oakland border.) I tested them for her in 2013 with an XRF instrument. They were installed new (in a newly built home) in 1992 (which is when her home was built, after the Oakland fire). They tested positive for lead (Pb) at 43,900 ppm.

Concern For Lead (Pb) In Ceramic Tile.

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