Lead is toxic to humans, especially for children below the age of three years because their brains are still growing. Poisoning can happen if a child is around small amounts of lead for a long time. It can also happen quickly if a child swallows something containing lead. Lead can even harm babies before they are born. Health issues can last for a long time, possibly into adulthood.
Adults can also get lead poisoning if exposed to a job or hobby that involves lead, such as artists, mechanics, and shooting at an indoor or outdoor firing range. And then children can get poisoning when dust from these sources enters the house.
- Homes built before 1978 with chipping, peeling or flaking lead-based paint on interior or exterior walls
- Toys, furniture and toy jewelry painted with lead-based paint
- Exterior soil in yards and playgrounds contaminated by lead
- Household dust contaminated by any of the above sources
- Household drinking water through corrosion of lead pipes
- Certain cosmetics
- Food and liquids stored or served in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain
- Work or hobbies with exposure to lead, such as refinishing old furniture, autobody work, hunting, fishing or making pottery
It is also important to learn things you can do to keep your family from getting lead poisoning. For example, if you see any peeling paint chips or dust, clean it up right away. Or if you’ve been exposed to lead sources, take off your shoes when entering the house, change clothes, and wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth or mop.