Behavioural Science and Lead Mitigation Research

This research programme is funded by Irish Water, with other key stakeholders including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health Service Executive. The aim is to assist with the National Strategy to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water by designing and testing behaviourally informed communications to homeowners.

Up to 200,000 houses (c.5%) in Ireland may still have some amount of lead piping, which carries adverse health risks for occupants.

For the first strand of this research programme, we conducted a behavioural analysis of the communications previously sent to homeowners. A second strand then reviewed relevant international scientific literature, focussing on studies that tested different kinds of communications to inform households about health risks or the need for home upgrades.

Informed by these first two strands, the next stage will trial new communications in Ireland. Results will be available in 2019.