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Lead (Pb)



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:

  • Paint
  • Soil
  • 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


Research Notes on PublicLab.org Related to this Topic

Title Author Updated Likes
How to Test For Lead in your Environment @read_holman 6 days ago
Evaluating Low-cost Lead Screening Products @read_holman 8 days ago
How to interpret soil test results @DanielleS 12 days ago
Chemical/Analytical Methods Used When Testing for Lead @read_holman 13 days ago
Using the Wheestat in a real time device @klplum 2 months ago
Soil Contaminant Testing @DanielleS 2 months ago
Seeking GIS / Data folks: Help us create a nation Lead Exposure Risk map. @read_holman 3 months ago
Partnering with a Local College for Environmental Testing @read_holman 4 months ago
Treating policy as code @liz 5 months ago
AIR-QUALITY & BALLOON LAUNCH: SUMMER 2019 QUEENSBRIDGE TECH LAB COMMUNITY SCIENCE PROJECT @SadiePrego 5 months ago
Crowdsourcing lead testing in NYC parks and playgrounds @smmontgom 8 months ago
Help us test public water fountains in NYC for lead!? @read_holman 8 months ago
Designing a soil sampling tool kit for community science /environmental justice applications @jjcreedon 11 months ago
Testing Water For Specific Polluting Compounds @rajanzaveri about 2 years ago
Mapping Lead-Free Water @smmontgom over 2 years ago
Pencil lead works well as an electrode material in lead analysis @JSummers about 3 years ago
Update on Stockton Harbor, Maine waste site: Media Coverage and heavy metals list @ronhuber almost 5 years ago
Testing a Penobscot Bay, Maine beach and clamflat for heavy metals & other contaminants @ronhuber almost 5 years ago
Mississippi Phosphates: Better air for Alice @stevie almost 5 years ago
$0.75 lead testing color strips @warren about 5 years ago
lead in brass snap swivels @mathew about 7 years ago
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Questions posted on PublicLab.org Related to this Topic

Title Author Updated Likes
Seeking Info re Commercial Low-cost Lead Screening Products @read_holman 20 days ago
Anyone have experience with diy soil testing methods for contaminants- Colorimetry, spectometry, reagents, etc? @DanielleS 2 months ago
Anyone working on environmental lead exposure / poisoning? @read_holman 8 months ago
Looking for ideas on filtering metals, arsenic, and/or bacteria from water? @stevie about 1 year ago

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