Lead is a poisonous, gray metal that can cause significant health problems. Unfortunately, you can’t smell or taste lead – and the particles may be so small that you can’t even see them. Lead is especially dangerous to small children, babies, and pregnant women. When lead builds up in our bodies, it leads to poisoning which affects the brain and nervous system. People with lead poisoning may never look, feel or act sick because lead first affects the learning ability, behavior and hearing. If the levels get high enough, lead poisoning can lead to a loss of energy, vomiting, coma and convulsions. Doctors, clinics, and hospitals can do a lead test to determine the levels of lead in your blood. If they find a potentially harmful level, they can help you to limit the effects of exposure as you can take steps to reduce your exposure before it gets serious. Therefore, it is very important for young children to have a lead test.
Where is lead found?
Gasoline used to power our cars use to contain lead. This emitted significant amounts of lead into the air which eventually ended up in the soil. Soils near major roadways can contain high levels of lead from this source.
In addition, outdoor paint that has chipped or worn off can also contribute to lead levels in soil near homes or buildings. Although lead can no longer be used in water piping and water suppliers monitor lead levels in water as it leaves the drinking water facility, many homes still have lead water pipes or pipes with lead solder. If a home has lead water pipes, the water can absorb lead from the piped. Hot water absorbs more lead, and the longer the water sits, the more lead it can absorb.
Lead crystals and some ceramic dishes also contain lead that may be absorbed by food that is stored in them. You should never store food in lead crystal or poorly glazed pottery.