7 Unexpected Sources of Lead Exposure

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The serious water crisis in Flint Michigan, still ongoing, has brought the issue of lead contamination back into the public spotlight. Most people assumed they were safe from lead exposure, but this crisis has highlighted the reality that lead could be lurking in our own homes and we wouldn’t even know it. Here are seven places lead might be hiding:

1. In the soil – Lead seeps into soil from a number of different sources, including from lead-based paint, from ground water, or from industrial dumping in the area. If you grow plants in this soil and then eat those plants, you could be exposed to lead. You might also simply inhale it while being around contaminated soil.

2. Dust – While Flint might be having the water crisis, there are other towns around the nation that are having a lead dust crisis. As lead paint is naturally disturbed (especially paint around doors and windows), lead dust is created that is then breathed in.

3. Paint – Many homes still contain lead paint. Even when sealed underneath paint that does not contain lead, there are still sources of contamination, including paint on toys and areas of paint that are easily disturbed.

4. Water – Water, especially because it is often run through old lead pipes, is a huge source of lead exposure. Even if just the welding on your plumbing contains lead, it could be seeping into the water that you use for cleaning dishes, showering and bathing, and drinking.

5. Hobbies – Some hobbies are more likely to bring you into contact with lead than others. For example, if you enjoy throwing pots, you are probably going to come into contact with lead used to make glazes and dyes. Fixing old cars, fishing, refinishing furniture, and hunting all bring you into contact with lead.

6. Toys and costume jewelry – Unfortunately, a huge number of toys have been manufactured using lead paint. Old toys are the worst offenders, but even new toys, especially those produced in China, could still be contaminated with lead paint.

7. Playgrounds – If the playground in your area is more than thirty years old, it is possible that the equipment was painted with paint that contained lead. If the paint chips off, sticks to the hands of your child, and is then ingested, this could lead to lead poisoning.

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