Reliability analysis of encapsulation methods for lead -based paint through an accelerated life testing

Alfredo J Ravinet, Florida International University


The adverse health effects of long-term exposure to lead are well established, with major uptake into the human body occurring mainly through oral ingestion by young children. Lead-based paint was frequently used in homes built before 1978, particularly in inner-city areas. Minority populations experience the effects of lead poisoning disproportionately. Lead-based paint abatement is costly. In the United States, residents of about 400,000 homes, occupied by 900,000 young children, lack the means to correct lead-based paint hazards. The magnitude of this problem demands research on affordable methods of hazard control. One method is encapsulation, defined as any covering or coating that acts as a permanent barrier between the lead-based paint surface and the environment. Two encapsulants were tested for reliability and effective life span through an accelerated lifetime experiment that applied stresses exceeding those encountered under normal use conditions. The resulting time-to-failure data were used to extrapolate the failure time under conditions of normal use. Statistical analysis and models of the test data allow forecasting of long-term reliability relative to the 20-year encapsulation requirement. Typical housing material specimens simulating walls and doors coated with lead-based paint were overstressed before encapsulation. A second, un-aged set was also tested. Specimens were monitored after the stress test with a surface chemical testing pad to identify the presence of lead breaking through the encapsulant. Graphical analysis proposed by Shapiro and Meeker and the general log-linear model developed by Cox were used to obtain results. Findings for the 80% reliability time to failure varied, with close to 21 years of life under normal use conditions for encapsulant A. The application of product A on the aged gypsum and aged wood substrates yielded slightly lower times. Encapsulant B had an 80% reliable life of 19.78 years. This study reveals that encapsulation technologies can offer safe and effective control of lead-based paint hazards and may be less expensive than other options. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC are committed to eliminating childhood lead poisoning by 2010. This ambitious target is feasible, provided there is an efficient application of innovative technology, a goal to which this study aims to contribute.

Subject Area

Environmental engineering|Toxicology

Recommended Citation

Ravinet, Alfredo J, "Reliability analysis of encapsulation methods for lead -based paint through an accelerated life testing" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3130420.