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Lead (Pb)

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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.


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Research Notes on PublicLab.org Related to this Topic

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Article comparing the effectiveness of recently passed lead exposure reduction laws @liz 3 months ago 0
Evaluating Low-cost Lead Screening Products @read_holman 3 months ago 3
How to Test For Lead in your Environment @read_holman 8 months ago 3
How to interpret soil test results @DanielleS 8 months ago 0
Chemical/Analytical Methods Used When Testing for Lead @read_holman 8 months ago 6
Using the Wheestat in a real time device @klplum 10 months ago 0
Soil Contaminant Testing @DanielleS 10 months ago 12
Seeking GIS / Data folks: Help us create a nation Lead Exposure Risk map. @read_holman 11 months ago 10
Partnering with a Local College for Environmental Testing @read_holman 12 months ago 0
Treating policy as code @liz about 1 year ago 3
AIR-QUALITY & BALLOON LAUNCH: SUMMER 2019 QUEENSBRIDGE TECH LAB COMMUNITY SCIENCE PROJECT @SadiePrego about 1 year ago 5
Crowdsourcing lead testing in NYC parks and playgrounds @smmontgom over 1 year ago 5
Help us test public water fountains in NYC for lead!? @read_holman over 1 year ago 13
Designing a soil sampling tool kit for community science /environmental justice applications @jjcreedon over 1 year ago 6
Testing Water For Specific Polluting Compounds @rajanzaveri over 2 years ago 2
Mapping Lead-Free Water @smmontgom over 3 years ago 0
Pencil lead works well as an electrode material in lead analysis @JSummers almost 4 years ago 0
Update on Stockton Harbor, Maine waste site: Media Coverage and heavy metals list @ronhuber over 5 years ago 2
Testing a Penobscot Bay, Maine beach and clamflat for heavy metals & other contaminants @ronhuber over 5 years ago 2
Mississippi Phosphates: Better air for Alice @stevie over 5 years ago 16
$0.75 lead testing color strips @warren over 5 years ago 10
lead in brass snap swivels @mathew almost 8 years ago 0
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