What is Lead?

"Lead is a naturally occurring metal found deep within the ground. It occurs in small amounts in ore, along with other elements such as silver, zinc or copper. Even though it's found in small amounts, there is an abundant supply of lead throughout the earth. Because it is widespread, easy to extract and easy to work with, lead has been used in a wide variety of products including: paint, ceramics, pipes, solders, gasoline, batteries and cosmetics." - NIH

 

 

Where is Lead Found?

"Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Much of our exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels including past use of leaded gasoline, some types of industrial facilities, and past use of lead-based paint in homes." - EPA

Why is Lead Dangerous?

"Long-term exposure to lead, a naturally occurring metal used in everything from construction materials to batteries, can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids. Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning — their smaller, growing bodies make them more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead." - Kids Health

Who is susceptible to Lead Poisoning?

Although people of all ages are susceptible to lead poisoning, children under six years old and fetuses are at greatest risk of harmful health effects from lead poisoning.  This is because their brains and nervous systems are still forming.

When is Action Needed?

If you think that you or someone else may have lead poisoning, your doctor can do a blood test to find out. This is the only way to diagnose lead poisoning.

How to Prevent?

  • Wash hands and toys. To help reduce hand-to-mouth transfer of contaminated dust or soil, wash your children's hands after outdoor play, before eating and at bedtime. Wash their toys regularly.

  • Clean dusty surfaces. Clean your floors with a wet mop and wipe furniture, windowsills and other dusty surfaces with a  damp cloth.

  • Remove shoes before entering the house. This will help keep lead-based soil outside.

  • Run cold water. If you have older plumbing containing lead pipes or fittings, run your cold water for at least a minute before using. Don't use hot tap water to make baby formula or for cooking.

  • Prevent children from playing on soil. Provide them with a sandbox that's covered when not in use. Plant grass or cover bare soil with mulch.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Regular meals and good nutrition might help lower lead absorption. Children especially need enough calcium, Vitamin C, and iron in their diets to help keep lead from being absorbed.

  • Keep your home well - maintained. If your home has lead-based paint, check regularly for peeling paint and fix problems promptly. Try not to sand, which generates dust particles that contain lead.