Contaminant cause

Lead Exposure

Lead is a highly toxic metal and a very strong poison.

Lead is found in lead-based paints, including paint on the walls of old houses and toys. It is also found in art supplies, contaminated dust, gasoline products sold outside of the United States and Canada

Risk Factor
0 effects
Measured in session

Caution

Lead is the most common toxic element. Volcanic activity and geochemical weathering are the greatest natural sources. Lead-based paints, gasoline additives, food-can soldering, battery making, and soldered joints of drinking water pipe systems represent anthropogenic sources of lead in the environment. Recommendations to limit lead paints since 1978 have led to substantial reductions in childhood lead toxicity. Many children, however, continue to live in houses with either nonintact lead-based paint or high levels of lead in dust. Exposure to lead also occurs through airborne emissions and occupational exposures, water, and foods or occasionally through the use of alternative health care products, such as herbal remedies. Tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive for land-based vehicles has now been largely banned worldwide. However, it is still present in aviation fuel for piston engine aircraft. Particles of lead suspended in the atmosphere, along with fuel-based and other sources of lead can represent a source of continued exposure.

Recommended Dosage

Lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of months or years. It can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Young children are most vulnerable. Children get lead in their bodies by putting the lead containing objects in their mouths. Touching the lead and then putting their fingers in their mouths may also poison them. Lead is more harmful to children because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

Lead Exposure Health Risks

OutcomesEffectEvidenceReferences

Memory Brain outcome
Memory
Brain

Minor Decrease

Evidence: Low

1 study

Bladder cancer Urinary outcome

Notable Increase

Evidence: Low

1 study

Pancreatic cancer Digestive outcome

Notable Increase

Evidence: Low

1 study

Fertility Reproductive outcome
Fertility
Reproductive

Strong Decrease

Needs research

1 study

Stomach cancer (Gastric cancer) Digestive outcome

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Reaction time Nervous outcome

Notable Decrease

Evidence: High

1 study

Cognitive deficit Brain outcome

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Intelligence Brain outcome

Minor Decrease

Evidence: Low

2 studies

Violent crime Brain outcome

Notable Increase

Evidence: High

2 studies

Kidney Cancer Urinary outcome

Notable Increase

Evidence: Low

1 study

Lung cancer Respiratory outcome
Lung cancer
Respiratory

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Nervous outcome

Strong Increase

Evidence: Low

1 study

Coronary Heart Disease (Ischaemic Heart Disease) Cardiovascular outcome
Coronary Heart ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Needs research

1 study

Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular outcome
Cardiovascular ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Needs research

1 study

Blood Pressure - Hypertension Cardiovascular outcome
Blood Pressure ...
Cardiovascular

Notable Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Mortality Musculoskeletal outcome
Mortality
Musculoskeletal

Strong Increase

Evidence: Low

2 studies

Stroke Brain outcome
Stroke
Brain

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Heart Attack (Myocardial infarction - ACS) Cardiovascular outcome
Heart Attack (M...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

2 studies

Users