Lead is a heavy metal that is common in our everyday environment. Historically it has been used in paints, pipes (including connectors/fittings), and gasoline among other places. Today, most industrial uses are limited to lead-acid batteries, a growing market.
Lead is a known toxin for humans. Health effects range from mild health irritations and decreased fertility at low amounts, lower IQ and emotional/behavioral issues in milder amounts, and seizures, coma, and even death at higher amounts.
### Top exposure pathways (aka: sources of lead) include:
- Dust (created by soil, paint, or emissions)
- Water / Plumbing
Lead may also be in toys, cosmetics, food containers, and other places, but the above are the top 4 pathways. Paint is generally recognized as the predominant source of lead. People talk quite a bit about lead in water, in part because of the crisis in Flint Michigan. Soil is a pathway that gets less attention; however, there is growing evidence that soil -- and in particular the dust that gets kicked up -- is a significant source of lead.
There are no safe levels of lead for humans; any amount is a bad amount. Lead is also bioaccumulate which means that it doesn't leave your body. Small amounts add up in your body over time.
###Top Resources on PublicLab.org Related to this Topic
- [How to Test For Lead in your Environment](https://publiclab.org/notes/read_holman/04-11-2019/how-to-test-for-lead-in-your-environment)
- [Evaluating Low-cost Lead Screening Products](https://publiclab.org/notes/read_holman/04-16-2019/evaluating-low-cost-lead-screening-products)
- [Chemical/Analytical Methods Used When Testing for Lead](https://publiclab.org/notes/read_holman/12-12-2018/list-of-methods-for-lead-detection-monitoring)
- [How much lead is legally allowed and what government agency regulates that? (link goes to CDC/ATSDR website. Scroll to Summary Table.)](https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=34&po=8)
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