How do people become exposed to lead?

Lead enters the body when children breathe lead dust or lead fumes, or swallow something with lead in it. Young children often put things in their mouth creating a way for lead paint chips or lead dust to enter the body. The main way most young children are exposed to harmful levels of lead is through contact with lead-contaminated paint and dust.

Less often, water is contaminated when it flows through lead pipes or brass fixtures, or food is contaminated by contact with lead-glazed ceramic dishes. Certain ethnic spices, foods and cosmetics, and children's jewelry also have lead. In certain jobs and hobbies, adults may work with leaded materials and can possibly expose their child to lead if proper cleaning is not done.

Show All Answers

1. What is lead?
2. Why is lead harmful?
3. How do people become exposed to lead?