Sources of Lead

Housing built before 1978

The most common sources of lead poisoning in children are caused by lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings. Most lead poisonings in children result from children eating paint chips or through breathing lead dust. They can also get dust and paint chips on their hands and then put their hands in their mouths.

From mother to fetus

Lead in the blood can cross the placenta and affect an unborn child. Even lead stored in bones can be mobilized and expose the woman and fetus. Lead poisoning of the fetus can cause low birth weight, stillbirth or miscarriage. To protect your baby, get enough calcium, and eat a well-balanced diet. Talk to your physician about getting tested for lead during your pregnancy, especially if you live in a home built before 1978, or if you’ve craved any non-food items.

Other sources

Lead can also be found in other sources

  • Soil – Lead particles that settle on the soil from gasoline or paint.
  • Water – Lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures and copper pipes lined with lead can release lead particles into tap water.
  • Cosmetics – Some cosmetics such as Kohl, kajal and surma can contain high levels of lead.
  • Imported pottery – some pottery, especially pottery and bean bowls made in Mexico, have lead in the glaze.
  • Candy – some imported candies have lead. Check the ‘toxic treats’ list to see the candies from Mexico that have been found to be contaminated with lead.
  • Occupation – Parents who work in construction or renovation jobs, or work at gun ranges, can expose their children to lead dust. Parents can bring lead dust home on work clothes, shoes and the family car.
  • Hobbies – Some hobbies that may involve activities, such as lead soldering may expose children to lead