Skip to Main Content

Information about the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

Where Does Lead Poisoning Come From?

lead poisoning source

Where Does Lead Poisoning Come From?

There are a number of possible sources of lead in the environment:

LEAD BASED PAINT

  • A common source of high-dose lead exposure to young children is deteriorating paint found in older homes and buildings.
  • Paint with a high lead content was used in millions of U.S. homes before 1978.
  • It was also used on some toys and furniture.

DUST AND SOIL

  • Paint in good condition is usually not a hazard, except in places where painted surfaces rub against each other and creates dust.
  • These areas are windows and windowsills, doors and door frames, stairs, banisters and railings, and porches and fences.
  • Soil is contaminated by exterior lead paint chips and dust, lead-based insect sprays, highway pollution and remodeling projects.

DRINKING WATER

  • Lead is usually not found in well or city water.
  • The water picks up the lead from inside your house.
  • Lead pipes, plumbing fittings made out of brass or bronze or lead solder used to connect plumbing can contaminate the water.

AIR

  • Air may be contaminated from dust caused by sanding, scraping or burning during removal of lead based paint.
  • Also lead contamination may occur from living near a manufacturing plant such as a lead smelter.

FOOD

  • Some imported canned food cans may contain lead seams.
  • Food stored in lead crystal or food that is baked, served or stored in pottery or ceramic with a lead glaze can transfer lead into the food.
  • Food grown in soil that contains lead may become contaminated. Lead dust from your hands can transfer lead to the foods that you are preparing.

HOBBIES AND OCCUPATIONS

  • Dust and fumes from hobbies (such as stained-glass production, reload ammunition, pottery, refinishing furniture, making fishing weights, jewelry, etc.) can be a source of lead poisoning.
  • Workers may bring lead-contaminated dust home or in their car, on their clothing, shoes or other work related objects.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINES

  • Greta
  • Azarcon
  • Paylooah
  • Surma
  • Moonshine
  • Kohl are traditional folk medicines that contain high levels of lead.

VINYL MINIBLINDS

  • Miniblinds manufactured outside of the U.S. before 1996 may contain lead as a stabilizing agent.
  • As these blinds are exposed to the sun, the vinyl deteriorates causing lead-contaminated dust to accumulate on the surface.