Lead is a toxic metal. In the past, it was used in household products until it was recognized as a potential health hazard. Since the 1980’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other state organizations have worked to ban or reduce lead use in consumer household products.
Homes, apartments, and commercial buildings built before 1978 may contain lead or lead dust. The primary sources of lead include:
- old paint on walls, window sills, trim, and other home surfaces
- tap water exposed to lead plumbing products (i.e., old lead pipes, solder)
- soil contaminated by paint chips from sanding and prepping the home’s exterior
- soil contaminated by past exposure to gasoline, which contained lead until 1978
- air pollution resulting from nearby industrial areas Lead is dangerous if it is swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. Children have the highest risk of poisoning from lead exposure. And, pregnant women can pass lead toxicity to an unborn child.
Lead has also been found to be harmful to adults. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead can cause these health effects: