/How can a person get exposed?

Sources of Lead

In the past lead was widely used in such things as household paint, gasoline, pipes and pesticides. The use of lead has been restricted in these and many other products, but a person may still become exposed to lead from a variety of sources. The following is a list of common lead sources:

  • Pottery, ceramics and dishware
  • Imported toys
  • Work and hobby activities, such as indoor firing range construction, remodeling, radiator repair, pottery making,
  • Paint chips from interior and exterior paint in homes built before 1978
  • Painted antique items, including furniture
  • Soil, especially in dense urban areas and playgrounds
  • Household dust, and debris from older building renovation
  • Contaminated drinking water due to leaching in homes with lead pipes, lead solder, brass fixtures, and/or brass valves
  • Imported cosmetics
  • Imported candy
  • Traditional home remedies, such as Greta and Azarcon, an orange powder used to treat upset stomach (empacho) in the Hispanic culture, Ghasard used as a tonic in Indian folk remedy, and Ba-baw-san, a Chinese herbal remedy used to treat colic pain or to pacify young children

Visit the Resources webpage for information on products recalled due to lead contamination.

Routes of Entry

Lead is usually introduced into the body through ingestion or inhalation. A person typically eats foods or puts other items contaminated with lead into his mouth or breathes in dust or fumes containing lead.