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Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Much of our exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels including past use of leaded gasoline, some types of industrial facilities and past use of lead-based paint in homes. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.

Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children six years old and younger are most susceptible to the effects of lead.

Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:

  • Behavior and learning problems

  • Lower IQ and Hyperactivity

  • Slowed growth

  • Hearing Problems

  • Anemia

In pregnant women, lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from the mother's bones along with calcium and can pass from the mother exposing the fetus or the breastfeeding infant to lead. This can result in serious effects to the developing fetus and infant, including:

Lead is also harmful to other adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:

  • Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.

  • Decreased kidney function; and

  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women).

Lower your chances of exposure to lead test your home for the presence of lead. You can test your air, water, and hard surfaces.

 

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