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Lead

Environmental Health

There are many sources of lead in the environment because of the widespread use of lead in the past. For most households, and for most children, the major source of lead is contaminated dust. The most important sources of lead contamination of dust are from old paint and from leaded gasoline. Older vinyl mini-blinds can also be a source of lead.

Lead gasoline is banned for most uses. Near major traffic corridors, soils are sometimes heavily contaminated from the prior use of leaded gas. As an element, lead does not decompose and it tends to stay in place over the years. If this soil is tracked into the house, it becomes an important health hazard.

Play areas with lead contamination can be a source of exposure due to hand-to-mouth activity of young children. Frequent hand washing is very important especially before eating. Landscaping with grass and dense shrubs can keep kids from coming in direct contact with contaminated soils. Soils of lands used as orchards in the 1940s may also be contaminated with lead and arsenic from pesticides used in the past.