You are on page 1of 51

Paint and Lead pollution


Dioscorides noted lead's effect on the mind in the first century A.D.

Roman lead water pipes with taps

Lead poisoning was among the first known and most widely studied work and environmental hazards. One
of the first metals to be smelted and used, lead is thought to have been discovered and first mined in Turkey
around 6500 BC. Its density, workability, and corrosion-resistance were among the metal's attractions.

In the second century B.C. by the Greek botanist Nicander described the colic and paralysis seen in lead-
poisoned people. Dioscorides, a Greek physician who lived in the first century A.D., wrote that lead makes
the mind "give way".

Lead was used extensively in ancient Rome from about 500 B.C. to 300 A.D. Julius Caesar's engineer,
Vitruvius, reported, "water is much more wholesome from earthenware pipes than from lead pipes. For it
seems to be made injurious by lead, because white lead is produced by it, and this is said to be harmful to
the human body." Gout, prevalent in affluent Rome, is thought to be the result of lead, or leaded eating and
drinking vessels. Sugar of lead was used to sweeten wine, and the gout that resulted from this was known as
saturnine gout. It is even hypothesized that lead poisoning may have contributed to the downfall of Rome.
After antiquity, mention of lead poisoning was absent from medical literature until the end of the Middle
Ages. In 1656 the German physician Samuel Stockhausen recognized dust and fumes containing lead
compounds as the cause of disease, called since ancient Roman times morbi metallici, that were known to
afflict miners, smelter workers, potters, and others whose work exposed them to the metal.

In 17th-century Germany, the physician Eberhard Gockel discovered lead-contaminated wine to be the
cause of an epidemic of colic. He had noticed that monks who did not drink wine were healthy, while wine
drinkers developed colic, and traced the cause to sugar of lead, made by simmering litharge with vinegar. As
a result, Eberhard Ludwig, Duke of Württemberg issued an edict in 1696 banning the adulteration of wines
with litharge.

In 18th-century Boston, lead poisoning was fairly frequent on account of the widespread drinking of rum,
which was made in stills with a lead component (the "worm"). Also in the 18th century, "Devonshire colic"
was the name given to the symptoms suffered by people of Devon who drank cider made in presses that
were lined with lead. Lead was added to cheap wine illegally in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a
sweetener.The composer Beethoven, a heavy wine drinker, suffered elevated lead levels (as later detected in
his hair) possibly due to this; the cause of his death is controversial, but lead poisoning is a contender as a

With the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, lead poisoning became common in the work setting. The
introduction of lead paint for residential use in the 19th century increased childhood exposure to lead; for
millenia before this, most lead exposure had been occupational.An important step in the understanding of
childhood lead poisoning occurred when toxicity in children from lead paint was recognized in Australia in
1897.France, Belgium and Austria banned white-lead interior paints in 1909; the League of Nations
followed suit in 1922.However, in the US, laws banning lead house paint were not passed until 1971, and it
was phased out and not fully banned until 1978.

The 20th century saw an increase in worldwide lead exposure levels due to the increased widespread use of
the metal. Beginning in the 1920s, lead was added to gasoline to improve its combustion; lead from this
exhaust persists today in soil and dust in buildings.[5] Blood lead levels worldwide have been declining
sharply since the 1980s, when leaded gasoline began to be phased out. In those countries that have banned
lead in solder for food and drink cans and have banned leaded gasoline additives, blood lead levels have
fallen sharply since the mid-1980s.

The levels found today in most people are orders of magnitude greater than those of pre-industrial times.Due
to reductions of lead in products and the workplace, acute lead poisoning is rare in most countries today;
however, low level lead exposure is still common.It was not until the second half of the 20th century that
subclinical lead exposure became understood to be a problem.[ During the end of the 20th century, the blood

lead levels deemed acceptable steadily declined. Blood lead levels once considered safe are now considered
hazardous, with no known safe threshold.
Notable Incidents
15,000 people are being relocated from the Jiyuan in central Henan province to another location. This is the
largest lead-smelting center. After 1000 children living around China's largest smelter plant owned by
Yuguang Gold and Lead, were found to have excess lead in their blood. The total cost of this project is
estimated to around 1 billion yuan ($150 million). 70% of the cost will be paid by local government and the
smelter company, while rest be paid by the residents themselves. The government has suspended production
at 32 of 35 lead plants.The affected area includes people from 10 different villages. In other species

Humans are not alone in suffering from lead's effects; plants and animals are also affected by lead toxicity to
varying degrees depending on species. Animals experience many of the same effects of lead exposure as
humans do, such as abdominal pain, peripheral neuropathy, and behavioral changes such as increased
aggression. Much of what is known about human lead toxicity and its effects is derived from animal studies.
Animals are used to test the effects of treatments, such as chelating agents, and to provide information the
path physiology lead, such as how it is absorbed and distributed in the body.

Farm animals such as cows and horses as well as pet animals are also susceptible to the effects of lead
toxicity. Sources of lead exposure in pets can be the same as those that present health threats to humans
sharing the environment, such as paint and blinds, and there is sometimes lead in toys made for pets. Lead
poisoning in a pet dog may indicate that children in the same household are at increased risk for elevated
lead levels.


Critically endangered California Condor can be poisoned when they eat carcasses of animals shot with lead pellets.

Lead, one of the leading causes of toxicity in waterfowl, has been known to cause die-offs of wild bird
populations. When hunters use lead shot, waterfowl such as ducks can ingest the spent pellets later and be

poisoned; predators that eat these birds are also at risk. Lead shot-related waterfowl poisonings were first
documented in the US in the 1880s. By 1919, the spent lead pellets from waterfowl hunting was positively
identified as the source of waterfowl deaths.Lead shot has been banned for hunting waterfowl in several
countries, including the US in 1991 and 1997 in Canada. Other threats to wildlife include lead paint,
sediment from lead mines and smelters, and lead weights from fishing lines.Lead in some fishing gear has
been banned in several countries.
The critically endangered California Condor has also been affected by lead poisoning. As scavengers,
condors eat carcasses of game that have been shot but not retrieved, and with them the fragments from lead
bullets; this increases their lead levels.Among condors around the Grand Canyon, lead poisoning due to
eating lead shot is the most frequently diagnosed cause of death. In an effort to protect this species, in areas
designated as the California Condor's range the use of projectiles containing lead has been banned to hunt
deer, wild pig, elk, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, ground squirrels, and other non-game wildlife.Also,
conservation programs exist which routinely capture condors, check their blood lead levels, and treat cases
of poisoning.

Lead particles in the atmosphere have been boosting cloud formation, a new EU-funded study reveals.
Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers suggest that atmospheric lead pollution may have
dampened the effects of climate change in recent decades.

EU support for the research came from the 'Atmospheric composition change' Network of Excellence, which
is financed under the 'Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems' Thematic area of the Sixth
Framework Programme .

Most of the lead in the atmosphere comes from human activities; top sources are coal burning, leaded petrol,
small planes flying at the altitude where clouds form, and construction work that frees lead from the ground.

While greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming, the emission of small particles of substances like
lead can have the opposite effect by interacting with water vapour in the atmosphere to trigger the formation
of clouds. Depending on their altitude and thickness, clouds can either reflect sunlight back into space or
trap warmth from the Earth.

The aim of this latest study was to determine the impact of this lead on cloud formation. To do this,
scientists in Germany, Switzerland and the US 'captured' real clouds from mountaintops on either side of the
Atlantic and studied clouds created artificially in special cloud chambers in the laboratory.

Their investigations revealed that lead changed the conditions needed for clouds to appear: when lead is
present, the air does not have to be as cold or humid for clouds to form.

Furthermore, computer models demonstrated that lead-containing particles change the properties of clouds
enough to influence the amount of long-wave radiation that escapes from the Earth. During the 1970s and
1980s, before the widespread introduction of lead-free petrol, most of the dust particles floating in the
atmosphere were probably contaminated with lead, allowing more heat to escape from the Earth.
'This probably led to a global inhibition of rises in temperature to some extent, whereas today almost the full
greenhouse effect is kicking in,' explained Professor Joachim Curtius of Goethe University Frankfurt in

Few would advocate pumping more lead into the atmosphere to counter the effects of global warming, as it
is a highly toxic metal that is harmful to human health. 'However, with the benefit of hindsight we can now
explain why there has been a trend towards more rapid temperature rises in recent years; it is because
mankind has cut back its emissions of lead and sulphates,' said Professor Stephen Borrmann of Johannes
Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany.

'We know that the vast majority of lead in the atmosphere comes from man-made sources,' commented lead
author Dan Cziczo of the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 'And now we
show that the lead is changing the properties of clouds and therefore the balance of the sun's energy that
affects our atmosphere.'

Lead poisoning (also known as plumbism, colica pictonium, saturnism, Devon colic, or painter's colic)
is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a
variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines,
kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system
and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and

Routes of exposure to lead include contaminated air, water, soil, food, and consumer products. Occupational
exposure is a common cause of lead poisoning in adults. One of the largest threats to children is lead paint
that exists in many homes, especially older ones; thus children in older housing with chipping paint are at
greater risk. Prevention of lead exposure can range from individual efforts (e.g. removing lead-containing
items such as piping or blinds from the home) to nationwide policies (e.g. laws that ban lead in products or
reduce allowable levels in water or soil).

Elevated lead in the body can be detected by the presence of changes in blood cells visible with a
microscope and dense lines in the bones of children seen on X-ray. However, the main tool for diagnosis is
measurement of the blood lead level; different treatments are used depending on this level. The major
treatments are removal of the source of lead and chelation therapy (administration of agents that bind lead so
it can be excreted).

Humans have been mining and using this heavy metal for thousands of years, poisoning themselves in the
process. Although lead poisoning is one of the oldest known work and environmental hazards, the modern
understanding of the small amount of lead necessary to cause harm did not come about until the latter half of
the 20th century. No level of lead below which harm does not occur has been discovered.

Classically, "lead poisoning" or "lead intoxication" has been defined as exposure to high levels of lead
typically associated with severe health effects.Poisoning is a pattern of symptoms that occur with toxic
effects from mid to high levels of exposure; toxicity is a wider spectrum of effects, including subclinical
ones (those that do not cause symptoms). However, professionals often use "lead poisoning" and "lead
toxicity" interchangeably, and official sources do not always restrict the use of "lead poisoning" to refer only
to symptomatic effects of lead.

The amount of lead in the blood and tissues, as well as the time course of exposure, determine toxicity.Lead

poisoning may be acute (from intense exposure of short duration) or chronic (from repeat low-level
exposure over a prolonged period), but the latter is much more common.Diagnosis and treatment of lead
exposure are based on blood lead level (the amount of lead in the blood), measured in micrograms of lead
per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health
Organization state that a blood lead level of 10 μg/dL or above is a cause for concern; however, lead may
impair development and have harmful health effects even at lower levels, and there is no known safe
exposure level.Authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics define lead poisoning as blood lead
levels higher than 10 μg/dL.

Lead forms a variety of compounds and exists in the environment in various forms.Features of poisoning
differ depending on whether the agent is an organic compound (one that contains carbon), or an inorganic
one.Organic lead poisoning is now very rare, due to the fact that countries across the world have phased out

the use of organic lead compounds as gasoline additives, but such compounds are still used in industrial
settings. Organic lead compounds, which cross the skin and respiratory tract easily, affect the central
nervous system predominantly.

Signs and symptoms

Lead poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms and signs which vary depending on the individual and the
duration of lead exposure.Symptoms are nonspecific and may be subtle, and someone with elevated lead
levels may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually develop over weeks to months as lead builds up in the
body during a chronic exposure, but acute symptoms from brief, intense exposures also occur. Symptoms
from exposure to organic lead, which is probably more toxic than inorganic lead due to its lipid solubility,
occur rapidly. Poisoning by organic lead compounds has symptoms predominantly in the central nervous
system, such as insomnia, delirium, cognitive deficits, tremor, hallucinations, and convulsions.

Symptoms may be different in adults and children; the main symptoms in adults are headache, abdominal
pain, memory loss, kidney failure, male reproductive problems, and weakness, pain, or tingling in the
extremities.[15] The classic signs and symptoms in children are loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting,
weight loss, constipation, anemia, kidney failure, irritability, lethargy, learning disabilities, and behavior
problems. Children may also experience hearing loss, delayed growth, drowsiness, clumsiness, or loss of
new abilities, especially speech skills. Symptoms may appear in children at lower blood lead levels than in

Early symptoms of lead poisoning in adults are commonly nonspecific and include depression, loss of
appetite, intermittent abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and muscle pain.Other early signs in
adults include malaise, fatigue, decreased libido, and problems with sleep.An unusual taste in the mouth and

personality changes are also early signs. In adults, symptoms can occur at levels above 40 μg/dL, but are
more likely to occur only above 50–60 μg/dL.Symptoms begin to appear in children generally at around
60 μg/dL.However, the lead levels at which symptoms appear vary widely depending on unknown
characteristics of each individual. At blood lead levels between 25 and 60 μg/dL, neuropsychiatric effects
such as delayed reaction times, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, as well as slowed motor nerve
conduction and headache can occur.Anemia may appear at blood lead levels higher than 50 μg/dL. In adults,
Abdominal colic, involving paroxysms of pain, may appear at blood lead levels greater than 80 μg/dL. Signs
that occur in adults at blood lead levels exceeding 100 μg/dL include wrist drop and foot drop, and signs of
encephalopathy (a condition characterized by brain swelling), such as those that accompany increased
pressure within the skull, delirium, coma, seizures, and headache. In children, signs of encephalopathy such
as bizarre behavior, discoordination, and apathy occur at lead levels exceeding 70 μg/dL. For both adults

children, it is rare to be asymptomatic if blood lead levels exceed 100 μg/dL.

Acute poisoning
In acute poisoning, typical neurological signs are pain, muscle weakness, paraesthesia, and, rarely,
symptoms associated with encephalitis. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation are
other acute symptoms. Lead's effects on the mouth include astringency and a metallic taste. Gastrointestinal
problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, poor appetite, or weight loss, are common in acute poisoning.
Absorption of large amounts of lead over a short time can cause shock (insufficient fluid in the circulatory
system) due to loss of water from the gastrointestinal tract.Hemolysis (the rupture of red blood cells) due to
acute poisoning can cause anemia and hemoglobin in the urine. Damage to kidneys can cause changes in
urination such as decreased urine output.People who survive acute poisoning often go on to display
symptoms of chronic poisoning.
Chronic poisoning
Chronic poisoning usually presents with symptoms affecting multiple systems, but is associated with three
main types of symptoms: gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, and neurological.Central nervous system and
neuromuscular symptoms usually result from intense exposure, while gastrointestinal symptoms usually
result from exposure over longer periods. Signs of chronic exposure include loss of short-term memory or
concentration, depression, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of coordination, and numbness and tingling in the
extremities.Fatigue, problems with sleep, headaches, stupor, slurred speech, and anemia are also found in
chronic lead poisoning.A "lead hue" of the skin with pallor is another feature. A blue line along the gum,
with bluish black edging to the teeth is another indication of chronic lead poisoning.Children with chronic
poisoning may refuse to play or may have hyperkinetic or aggressive behavior disorders.

Exposure routes
Lead is a common environmental pollutant. Causes of environmental contamination include industrial use of
lead, such as is found in plants that process lead-acid batteries or produce lead wire or pipes, and metal
recycling and foundries. Children living near facilities that process lead, such as smelters, have been found
to have unusually high blood lead levels.In August 2009, parents rioted in China after lead poisoning was
found in nearly 2000 children living near zinc and manganese smelters. Lead exposure can occur from
contact with lead in air, household dust, soil, water, and commercial products.

Occupational exposure

Battery recycling workers are at risk for lead exposure. This worker ladles molten lead into billets in a lead-acid
battery recovery facility.

In adults, occupational exposure is the main cause of lead poisoning. People can be exposed when working
in facilities that produce a variety of lead-containing products; these include radiation shields, ammunition,
certain surgical equipment, fetal monitors, plumbing, circuit boards, jet engines, and ceramic glazes. In
addition, lead miners and smelters, plumbers and fitters, auto mechanics, glass manufacturers, construction
workers, battery manufacturers and recyclers, firing range instructors, and plastic manufacturers are at risk
for lead exposure.Other occupations that present lead exposure risks include welding, manufacture of
rubber, printing, zinc and copper smelting, processing of ore, combustion of solid waste, and production of
paints and pigments. Parents who are exposed to lead in the workplace can bring lead dust home on clothes
or skin and expose their children.

Some lead compounds are bright colors and are used widely in paints, and lead paint is a major route of lead
exposure in children. Deteriorating lead paint can produce dangerous lead levels in household dust and
soil.Deteriorating lead paint and lead-containing household dust are the main causes of chronic lead
poisoning. Many young children display pica, eating things that are not food. Even a small amount of a lead-
containing product such as a paint chip or a sip of glaze can contain tens or hundreds of milligrams of
lead.Eating chips of lead paint presents a particular hazard to children, generally producing more severe
poisoning than occurs from dust.However, removing lead paint from dwellings, e.g. by sanding or torching,
can create lead-containing dust and fumes. Therefore, special precautions must be taken when removing
lead paint.


A lead warning on a gas pump. Tetraethyl lead, which used to be added to gasoline, contributed to soil contamination.

Residual lead in soil contributes to lead exposure in urban areas. Lead content in soil may be caused by
broken-down lead paint, residues from lead-containing gasoline or pesticides used in the past, contaminated
landfills, or from nearby industries such as foundries or smelters.Although leaded soil is less of a problem in
countries that no longer have leaded gasoline, it remains prevalent, raising concerns about the safety of
urban agriculture; eating food grown in contaminated soil can present a lead hazard.

Lead from the atmosphere or soil can end up in groundwater and surface water. It is also potentially in
drinking water, e.g. from plumbing and fixtures that are either made of lead or have lead solder. Since acidic
water breaks down lead in plumbing more readily, chemicals can be added to municipal water to increase
the pH and thus reduce the corrosivity of the public water supply. Chloramines, which were adopted as a
substitute for chlorine disinfectants due to fewer health concerns, increase corrositivity. In the US, 14–20%

of total lead exposure is attributed to drinking water. In 2004, a team of seven reporters from The
Washington Post discovered high levels of lead in the drinking water in Washington, D.C. and won an
award for investigative reporting for a series of articles about this contamination.

In Australia, rainwater from roof runoff used as potable water may contain lead if there are lead
contaminates on the roof or in the storage tank.The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines allow a maximum
of .01 mg/L lead in water.

Lead-containing products
Lead can be found in products such as kohl, a South Asian cosmetic, and from some toys.In 2007, millions
of toys made in China were recalled from multiple countries due to safety hazards including lead paint.

Vinyl mini-blinds, found especially in older housing, may contain lead.Lead is commonly incorporated into
herbal remedies such as Indian Ayurvedic preparations and remedies of Chinese origin.There are also risks
of elevated blood lead levels caused by folk remedies like azarcon and greta, which each contain about 95%
lead. Ingestion of metallic lead, such as small lead fishing lures, increases blood lead levels and can be fatal.
Ingestion of lead-contaminated food is also a threat. Ceramic glaze often contains lead, and dishes that have
been improperly fired can leach the metal into food, potentially causing severe poisoning. In some places,
the solder in cans used for food contains lead. People who eat animals hunted with lead bullets may be at
risk for lead exposure. Bullets lodged in the body rarely cause significant levels of lead poisoning, but
bullets lodged in the joints are the exception, as they deteriorate and release lead into the body over time.

Tetra-ethyl lead, still used as an additive in some fuels, can be absorbed through the skin.

Exposure occurs through inhalation, ingestion or occasionally skin contact. Lead may be taken in through
direct contact with mouth, nose, and eyes (mucous membranes), and through breaks in the skin. Tetra-ethyl
lead, which was a gasoline additive and is still used in fuels such as aviation fuel, passes through the skin;
however inorganic lead found in paint, food, and most lead-containing consumer products is only minimally
absorbed through the skin. The main sources of absorption of inorganic lead are from ingestion and
inhalation. In adults, about 35–40% of inhaled lead dust is deposited in the lungs, and about 95% of that
goes into the bloodstream.Of ingested inorganic lead, about 15% is absorbed, but this percentage is higher in
children, pregnant women, and people with deficiencies of calcium, zinc, or iron. Children and infants may

absorb about 50% of ingested lead, but little is known about absorption rates in children.

The main body compartments that store lead are the blood, soft tissues, and bone; the half-life of lead in
these tissues is measured in weeks for blood, months for soft tissues, and years for bone.Lead in the bones,
teeth, hair and nails is bound tightly and not available to other tissues, and is generally thought not to be
harmful. In adults, 94% of absorbed lead is deposited in the bones and teeth, but children only store 70% in
this manner, a fact which may partially account for the more serious health impacts on children.The
estimated half-life of lead in bone is 20–30 years, and bone can introduce lead into the bloodstream long
after the initial exposure is gone.The half-life of lead in the blood in men is about 40 days, but it may be
longer in children and pregnant women, whose bones are undergoing remodeling, which allows the lead to
be continuously re-introduced into the bloodstream. Also, if lead exposure takes place over years, clearance
is much slower, partly due to the re-release of lead from bone. Many other tissues store lead, but those with
the highest concentrations (other than blood, bone, and teeth) are the brain, spleen, kidneys, liver, and lungs.
It is removed from the body very slowly, mainly through urine.Smaller amounts of lead are also eliminated
through the feces, and very small amounts in hair, nails, and sweat.

Lead has no known physiologically relevant role in the body,and its harmful effects are myriad. Lead and
other heavy metals create reactive radicals which damage cell structures including DNA and cell
membranes. Lead also interferes with DNA transcription, enzymes that help in the synthesis of vitamin D,
and enzymes that maintain the integrity of the cell membrane.Anemia may result when the cell membranes
of red blood cells become more fragile as the result of damage to their membranes.Lead interferes with
metabolism of bones and teeth and alters the permeability of blood vessels and collagen synthesis. Lead may
also be harmful to the developing immune system, causing production of excessive inflammatory proteins;
this mechanism may mean that lead exposure is a risk factor for asthma in children. Lead exposure has also
been associated with a decrease in activity of immune cells such as polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Lead
also interferes with the normal metabolism of calcium in cells and causes it to build up within them.

The primary cause of lead's toxicity is its interference with a variety of enzymes due to the fact that it binds
to sulfhydryl groups found on many enzymes. Part of lead's toxicity results from its ability to mimic other
metals that take part in biological processes, which act as cofactors in many enzymatic reactions, displacing
them at the enzymes on which they act.Lead is able to bind to and interact with many of the same enzymes
as these metals but, due to its differing chemistry, does not properly function as a cofactor, thus interfering
with the enzyme's ability to catalyze its normal reaction or reactions. Among the essential metals with which
lead interacts are calcium, iron, and zinc.

One of the main causes for the pathology of lead is that it interferes with the activity an essential enzyme
called delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase, or ALAD, which is important in the biosynthesis of heme, the
cofactor found in hemoglobin. Lead also inhibits the enzyme ferrochelatase, another enzyme involved in the
formation of heme.Ferrochelatase catalyzes the joining of protoporphyrin and Fe2+ to form heme. Lead's
interference with heme synthesis results in production of zinc protoporphyrin and the development of
anemia. Another effect of lead's interference with heme synthesis is the buildup of heme precursors, such as
aminolevulinic acid, which may be directly or indirectly harmful to neurons.

Lead exposure damages cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory. Hippocampi of lead-
exposed rats (bottom) show structural damage such as irregular nuclei (IN) and denaturation of myelin (DNS)
compared to controls (top).

Lead interferes with the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals used by neurons to send signals to other
cells.[13][19] It interferes with the release of glutamate, a neurotransmitter important in many functions
including learning, by blocking NMDA receptors. The targeting of NMDA receptors is thought to be one of
the main causes for lead's toxicity to neurons.[66] A Johns Hopkins report found that in addition to inhibiting
the NMDA receptor, lead exposure decreased the amount of the gene for the receptor in part of the brain. [67]
In addition, lead has been found in animal studies to cause programmed cell death in brain cells.[19]

Lead affects every one of the body's organ systems, especially the nervous system, but also the bones and
teeth, the kidneys, and the cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive systems. Hearing loss and tooth decay
have been linked to lead exposure, as have cataracts. Intrauterine and neonatal lead exposure promote tooth

decay.Aside from the developmental effects unique to young children, the health effects experienced by
adults are similar to those in children, although the thresholds are generally higher

Renal system

Kidney damage occurs with exposure to high levels of lead, and evidence suggests that lower levels can
damage kidneys as well. The toxic effect of lead causes nephropathy and may cause Fanconi syndrome, in
which the proximal tubular function of the kidney is impaired.Long-term exposure at levels lower than those
that cause lead nephropathy have also been reported as nephrotoxic in patients from developed countries that
had chronic kidney disease or were at risk because of hypertension or diabetes mellitus. Lead poisoning
inhibits excretion of the waste product urate and causes a predisposition for gout, in which urate builds up.
This condition is known as saturnine gout.

Cardiovascular system
Evidence suggests lead exposure is associated with high blood pressure, and studies have also found
connections between lead exposure and coronary heart disease, heart rate variability, and death from stroke,
but this evidence is more limited. People who have been exposed to higher concentrations of lead may be at
a higher risk for cardiac autonomic dysfunction on days when ozone and fine particles are higher.

Reproductive system
Lead affects both the male and female reproductive systems. In men, when blood lead levels exceed
40 μg/dL, sperm count is reduced and changes occur in volume of sperm, their motility, and their
morphology. A pregnant woman's elevated blood lead level can lead to miscarriage, prematurity, low birth
weight, and problems with development during childhood. Lead is able to pass through the placenta and into
breast milk, and blood lead levels in mothers and infants are usually similar. A fetus may be poisoned in
utero if lead from the mother's bones is subsequently mobilized by the changes in metabolism due to
pregnancy; increased calcium intake in pregnancy may help mitigate this phenomenon.

Nervous system
Lead affects the peripheral nervous system (especially motor nerves) and the central nervous system.
Peripheral nervous system effects are more prominent in adults and central nervous system effects are more
prominent in children.Lead causes the axons of nerve cells to degenerate and lose their myelin coats

The brains of adults who were exposed to lead as children show decreased volume, especially in the prefrontal cortex,
on MRI. Areas of volume loss are shown in color over a template of a normal brain.

The brain is the organ most sensitive to lead exposure. Lead poisoning interferes with the normal
development of a child's brain and nervous system; therefore children are at greater risk of lead
neurotoxicity than adults are. In a child's developing brain, lead interferes with synapse formation in the
cerebral cortex, neurochemical development (including that of neurotransmitters), and organization of ion
channels.[64] It causes loss of neurons' myelin sheaths, reduces numbers of neurons, interferes with
neurotransmission, and decreases neuronal growth.
Lead exposure in young children has been linked to learning disabilities,and children with blood lead
concentrations greater than 10 μg/dL are in danger of developmental disabilities Increased blood lead level
in children has been correlated with decreases in intelligence, nonverbal reasoning, short-term memory,
attention, reading and arithmetic ability, fine motor skills, emotional regulation, and social engagement. The
effect of lead on children's cognitive abilities takes place at very low levels. There is apparently no lower
threshold to the dose-response relationship (unlike other heavy metals such as mercury). Reduced academic

performance has been associated with lead exposure even at blood lead levels lower than 5 μg/dL. Blood
lead levels below 10 μg/dL have been reported to be associated with lower IQ and behavior problems such
as aggression, in proportion with blood lead levels. Between the blood lead levels of 5 and 35 μg/dL, an IQ
decrease of 2–4 points for each μg/dL increase is reported in children.

high blood lead levels in adults are also associated with decreases in cognitive performance and with
psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety. It was found in a large group of current and former
inorganic lead workers in Korea that blood lead levels in the range of 20–50 μg/dL were correlated with
neuro-cognitive defects. Increases in blood lead levels from about 50 to about 100 μg/dL in adults have been
found to be associated with persistent, and possibly permanent, impairment of central nervous system

Lead exposure in children is also correlated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder and antisocial behavior.] Elevated lead levels in children are correlated with higher
scores on aggression and delinquency measures. A correlation has also been found between prenatal and
early childhood lead exposure and violent crime in adulthood.[87] Countries with the highest air lead levels
have also been found to have the highest murder rates, after adjusting for confounding factors. A May 2000
study by economic consultant Rick Nevin theorizes that lead exposure explains 65% to 90% of the variation
in violent crime rates in the US. A 2007 paper by the same author claims to show a strong association
between preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades across nine countries.

Diagnosis includes determining the clinical signs and the medical history, with inquiry into possible routes
of exposure Clinical toxicologists, medical specialists in the area of poisoning, may be involved in diagnosis
and treatment. The main tool in diagnosing and assessing the severity of lead poisoning is laboratory
analysis of the blood lead level (BLL).
Basophilic stippling (arrows) of red blood cells in a 53-year-old who had elevated blood lead levels due to drinking
repeatedly from glasses decorated with lead paint.

Blood film examination may reveal basophilic stippling of red blood cells (dots in red blood cells visible
through a microscope), as well as the changes normally associated with iron-deficiency anemia
(microcytosis and hypochromasia). However, basophilic stippling is also seen in unrelated conditions, such
as megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 (colbalamin) and folate deficiencies

Exposure to lead also can be evaluated by measuring erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) in blood samples. EP
is a part of red blood cells known to increase when the amount of lead in the blood is high, with a delay of a
few weeks.[11] Thus EP levels in conjunction with blood lead levels can suggest the time period of exposure;
if blood lead levels are high but EP is still normal, this finding suggests exposure was recent. [11][21] However,
the EP level alone is not sensitive enough to identify elevated blood lead levels below about 35 μg/dL Due
to this higher threshold for detection and the fact that EP levels also increase in iron deficiency, use of this
method for detecting lead exposure has decreased.

Blood lead levels are an indicator mainly of recent or current lead exposure, not of total body burden.[106]
Lead in bones can be measured noninvasively by X-ray fluorescence; this may be the best measure of
cumulative exposure and total body burden. However this method is not widely available and is mainly used
for research rather than routine diagnosis. Another radiographic sign of elevated lead levels is the presence
of radiodense lines called lead lines at the metaphysis in the long bones of growing children, especially
around the knees. These lead lines, caused by increased calcification due to disrupted metabolism in the
growing bones, become wider as the duration of lead exposure increases. X-rays may also reveal lead-
containing foreign materials such as paint chips in the gastrointestinal tract

Fecal lead content that is measured over the course of a few days may also be an accurate way to estimate
the overall amount of childhood lead intake. This form of measurement may serve as a useful way to see the
extent of oral lead exposure from all the diet and environmental sources of lead.

Lead poisoning shares symptoms with other conditions and may be easily missed. Conditions that present
similarly and must be ruled out in diagnosing lead poisoning include carpal tunnel syndrome, Guillain-Barré
syndrome, renal colic, appendicitis, encephalitis in adults, and viral gastroenteritis in children. Other
differential diagnoses in children include constipation, abdominal colic, iron deficiency, subdural hematoma,
neoplasms of the central nervous system, emotional and behavior disorders, and mental retardation.

Testing kits are commercially available for detecting lead. These swabs, when wiped on a surface, turn pink in the
presence of lead.

In most cases, lead poisoning is preventable; the way to prevent it is to prevent exposure to lead. Prevention
strategies can be divided into individual (measures taken by a family), preventive medicine (identifying and
intervening with high-risk individuals), and public health (reducing risk on a population level).

Recommended steps by individuals to reduce the blood lead levels of children include increasing their
frequency of hand washing and their intake of calcium and iron, discouraging them from putting their hands
to their mouths, vacuuming frequently, and eliminating the presence of lead-containing objects such as
blinds and jewelery in the house. In houses with lead pipes or plumbing solder, these can be replaced. Less
permanent but cheaper methods include running water in the morning to flush out the most contaminated
water, or adjusting the water's chemistry to prevent corrosion of pipes. Lead testing kits are commercially
available for detecting the presence of lead in the household.

Screening is an important method in preventive medicine strategies. Screening programs exist to test the
blood of children at high risk for lead exposure, such as those who live near lead-related industries.

Prevention measures also exist on national and municipal levels. Recommendations by health professionals
for lowering childhood exposures include banning the use of lead where it is not essential and strengthening
regulations that limit the amount of lead in soil, water, air, household dust, and products. Regulations exist
to limit the amount of lead in paint; for example, a 1978 law in the US restricted the lead in paint for
residences, furniture, and toys to 0.06% or less. In October 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency
reduced the allowable lead level by a factor of ten to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, giving states
five years to comply with the standards.

The European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive limits amounts of lead and other toxic
substances in electronics and electrical equipment.
In some places, remediation programs exist to reduce the presence of lead when it is found to be high, for
example in drinking water. As a more radical solution, entire towns located near former lead mines have
been "closed" by the government, and the population resettled elsewhere, as was the case with Picher,
Oklahoma in 2009.

CDC management guidelines for children with elevated blood levels[113]

Blood lead
level (μg/dL)

repeat screening

Repeat screening, case

management to abate sources

Medical evaluation,
case management

Medical evaluation,
chelation, case management

Hospitalization, immediate
chelation, case management

The mainstays of treatment are removal from the source of lead and, for people who have significantly high
blood lead levels or who have symptoms of poisoning, chelation therapy.[114] Treatment of iron, calcium, and
zinc deficiencies, which are associated with increased lead absorption, is another part of treatment for lead
poisoning.[115] When lead-containing materials are present in the gastrointestinal tract (as evidenced by
abdominal X-rays), whole bowel irrigation, cathartics, endoscopy, or even surgical removal may be used to
eliminate it from the gut and prevent further exposure.

Lead-containing bullets and shrapnel may also present a threat of further exposure and may need to be
surgically removed if they are in or near fluid-filled or synovial spaces.

If lead encephalopathy is present, anticonvulsants may be given to control seizures, and treatments to control
swelling of the brain include corticosteroids and mannitol.Treatment of organic lead poisoning involves
removing the lead compound from the skin, preventing further exposure, treating seizures, and possibly
chelation therapy for people with high blood lead concentrations.
EDTA, a Chelating agent, binds a heavy metal, sequestering it.

A chelating agent is a molecule with at least two negatively charged groups that allow it to form complexes
with metal ions with multiple positive charges, such as lead.[119] The chelate that is thus formed is
nontoxic[120] and can be excreted in the urine, initially at up to 50 times the normal rate. [65] The chelating
agents used for treatment of lead poisoning are edetate disodium calcium (CaNa2EDTA), dimercaprol
(BAL), which are injected, and succimer and d-penicillamine, which are administered orally. Chelation
therapy is used in cases of acute lead poisoning, severe poisoning, and encephalopathy, and is considered for
people with blood lead levels above 25 µg/dL While the use of chelation for people with symptoms of lead
poisoning is widely supported, use in asymptomatic people with high blood lead levels is more
controversial. Chelation therapy is of limited value for cases of chronic exposure to low levels of lead.
Chelation therapy is usually stopped when symptoms go away or when blood lead levels return to premorbid
levels. When lead exposure has taken place over a long period, blood lead levels may rise after chelation is
stopped because lead is leached into blood from stores in the bone; thus repeated treatments are often
necessary. Chelating agents can have adverse effects;[ for example, chelation therapy can lower the body's
levels of necessary nutrients like zinc. Chelating agents taken orally can increase the body's absorption of
lead through the intestine.

Chelation challenge, also known as provocation testing, is used to indicate an elevated and mobilizable body
burden of heavy metals including lead. This testing involves collecting urine before and after administering
a one-off dose of chelating agent to mobilize heavy metals into the urine.

Then urine is analyzed by a laboratory for levels of heavy metals; from this analysis overall body burden is

inferred.Chelation challenge mainly measures the burden of lead in soft tissues, and may not accurately
reflect long-term exposure or the amount of lead stored in bone. Although the technique has been used to
determine whether chelation therapy is indicated and to diagnose heavy metal exposure, evidence does not
support either of these uses because levels after chelation are not comparable to those in the general
Lead Paint

Lead paint was used commonly until the 1970s as a white pigment. As paint containing lead, it was
important to increase opacity and make the paint resistant to UV radiation. However, lead is extremely toxic
and can be harmful to those who come into contact with it. As lead white ages it becomes sweet to taste,
which prompted children to lick or chew woodwork painted with lead paint.

By the 1960s the danger of lead paint became widely known and could not go ignored any longer. Paint
manufacturers began developing paints that did not contain lead, and in 1978 legislation was passed
outlawing the use of lead paint in the United States. As a general rule, it is assumed that homes older than
1960 are certain to contain lead paint, homes built between 1960 and 1965 are likely to contain lead paint,
those built between 1966 and 1978 are not likely to, and homes built after 1978 probably do not contain lead

If you or someone you care about has unknowingly been exposed to the health risks of lead paint, it is
essential that you understand your legal rights. An attorney can help your family fight for justice and obtain
the compensation you deserve for your pain. Do not hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced
lawyer today.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms

Lead poisoning is caused by increased blood serum lead levels. The toxicity of lead has been known for
about four thousand years, and lead poisoning continues to take place in modern times. Lead poisoning
symptoms include neurological problems, gastrointestinal problems, kidney problems, reproductive
problems, and developmental problems.

Neurological lead poisoning symptoms include reduced IQ, nausea, abdominal pain, irritability, insomnia,
excessive lethargy or hyperactivity, headache, seizure, and coma. Gastrointestinal problems such as
constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, poor appetite, and weight loss are also associated with lead
poisoning. Early lead exposure has been linked to extreme learning disabilities among children, who make
up the majority of lead poisoning victims.

Lead Poisoning Side Effects

The side effects of lead poisoning can be extremely hazardous and dangerous to people of all ages.
Increased lead levels in the blood causes lead poisoning and the condition has been taking place for
thousands of years around the world. Some side effects of lead poisoning include gastrointestinal problems,
neurological problems, reproductive problems, kidney problems, and developmental problems.

Gastrointestinal side effects of lead poisoning include constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, poor appetite,
vomiting, and weight loss. Side effects related to neurological problems are nausea, reduced IQ, irritability,
insomnia, excessive hyperactivity or lethargy, headache, coma, and seizure. Additionally, developmental
problems such as learning disabilities have been linked to lead exposure in children.
Facts about lead
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips
containing lead.

FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good
condition is not a hazard.

FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to
protect your family.

Health effects of lead

Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States.

• People can get lead in their body if they:

○ Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.

○ Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.

○ Breathe in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces

• Lead is more dangerous to children because:

○ Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These
objects can have lead dust on them.

○ Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.

○ Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

• If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

○ Damage to the brain and nervous system

○ Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity

○ Slowed growth
○ Hearing problems

○ Headaches

• Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:

○ Reproductive problems (in both men and women)

○ High blood pressure and hypertension

○ Nerve disorders

○ Memory and concentration problems

○ Muscle and joint pain

Where lead is found

In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.

• Paint. Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-
based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead can be found:

○ In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.

○ In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.

○ Inside and outside of the house.

• In soil around a home. Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of
leaded gas in cars, and children playing in yards can ingest or inhale lead dust.

• Household dust. Dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked into a

• Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health
department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell or taste lead,
and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:

○ Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.

○ Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water
for a few hours.
• The job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and
change clothes before coming home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your
family's clothes.

• Old painted toys and furniture.

• Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain. Food can become
contaminated because lead can leach in from these containers.

• Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.

• Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.

• Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.

Where lead is likely to be a hazard

Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can be serious hazards.

• Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention

• Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a
lot of wear-and-tear. These areas include:

○ Windows and window sills.

○ Doors and door frames.

○ Stairs, railings, and banisters.

○ Porches and fences.

Note: Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard.

• Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated. Dust also forms
when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that

• people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.

• Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house
on their shoes. Contact the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) to find out about testing soil
for lead.

How to check your family and home for lead

Just knowing that a home has lead-based paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.

To reduce your child's exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested (especially if your
home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978), and fix any hazards you may have.

• Your family

○ Children's blood lead levels tend to increase rapidly from 6 to 12 months of age, and tend to
peak at 18 to 24 months of age.

○ Consult your doctor for advice on testing your children. A simple blood test can detect high
levels of lead. Blood tests are important for:

 Children at ages one and two.

 Children and other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead.

 Children who should be tested under your state or local health screening plan.

○ Your doctor can explain what the test results mean and if more testing will be needed.

• Your home

○ You can get your home checked in one of two ways, or both

 A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every different type of painted surface
in your home. It won't tell you whether the paint is a hazard or how you should deal
with it.

 A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as
peeling paint and lead dust). It also tells you what actions to take to address these

○ Have qualified professionals do the work. There are standards in place for certifying lead-
based paint professionals to ensure the work is done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact
the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) for a list of contacts in your area.

○ Trained professionals use a range of methods when checking your home, including:

 Visual inspection of paint condition and location.

 A portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine.

 Lab tests of paint samples.

 Surface dust tests.

Note: Home test kits for lead are available, but studies suggest that they are not always accurate. Consumers
should not rely on these tests before doing renovations or to assure safety.

What you can do to protect your family

• If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your
family's risk:

○ If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.

○ Clean up paint chips immediately.

○ Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge, or
paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically

○ Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.

○ Wash children's hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time.

○ Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly.

○ Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.

○ Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.

○ Make sure children eat healthy and nutritious meals as recommended by the National Dietary
Guidelines. Children with good diets absorb less lead.

• Additional steps:

○ You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as repairing damaged painted
surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions are not
permanent solutions and will need ongoing attention.

○ To permanently remove lead hazards, you must hire a certified lead "abatement" contractor.
Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or

○ enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular
paint is not enough.

○ Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems -- someone who
knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly.
Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules set by their
state or the federal government.

○ Contact the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) for help with locating certified
contractors in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.

Are you planning to buy or rent a home built before 1978?

Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint). Lead
from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting or buying a pre-1978

• Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program

○ LANDLORDS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint
hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based

○ SELLERS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint
hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-
based paint. Buyers have up to ten days to check for lead hazards.

○ More information on the disclosure program.

Renovating, repairing or painting a home, child care facility or school containing lead-
based paint
Beginning in April 2010, federal law will require that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting
projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be
certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

Read about EPA's requirements for renovation, repair and painting.

Until that time, EPA recommends that anyone performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that
disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools follow lead-safe work practices.
The contractor should follow these three simple procedures:

• Contain the work area

• Minimize dust

• Clean up thoroughly

Lead Pollution & The Environment

What is Lead Pollution?
• Lead is a naturally occurring basic element and a metal
• Lead Pollution is the introduction of lead into the atmosphere in a matter that it affects the

Where does Lead Pollution come from?

• Lead pollution primarily came from cars in the past

• Today, lead pollution primarily comes from lead smelters, metal processing plants and incinerators

Why is there so much Lead Pollution?

• Because, in the past, cars used gas with lead

• Also, in the past the danger of lead poisoning and pollution was unknown

• Lead was widely used for painting in the past due to its cheap manufactory cost

Why should it cause concern?

• Lead can cause birth defects in unborn children

• Lead poisoning can kill a person with a high enough introduced into the body

• Deposits of lead in soil can harm both humans and animals by absorbing it into a body

How can humans and animals be affected by it?

• Through polluted air

• Through accidental ingestion of pieces of lead paint

• Through water contaminated with lead

• Through contaminated soil

How does Lead Pollution affect the body?

• Lead in the body can damage internal organs

• Lead can also damage the brain and nervous system

• In a long term scenario, it can cause reproductive disorders and/or osteoporosis

• Enough lead in the body will be fatal

What steps have been taken to reduce the level of Lead Pollution?
• The government set up an agency, called the EPA, to reduce the level of lead pollution

• The EPA has reduced the levels of lead pollution by reducing, and then removed the lead content
from gasoline

• Also, the EPA has introduced many rules and regulations to reduce the level of Lead Pollution

What steps can someone take to reduce the level of Lead Pollution?
• Carpool and/or drive your car less if it is an older type

• Get the soil around older houses/buildings checked for lead content (possible lead paint could have
been absorbed into the soil)

• Check older buildings for cracked lead paint

• Help support recycling programs (the less amount of trash burned leads to less amount of lead
pollution being let into the atmosphere)

• Donate money and/or time to the EPA or help local trash cleanup

What steps can someone take to protect themselves from Lead Poisoning?
• Check their house for lead paint

• Get older furniture checked for lead paint

• Get the area around the garage for lead content (older car's could have leaked lead-containing gas)

• Run hot water 3-5 seconds to clear the lead out of older pipes

• Dispose of lead-glazed pots correctly (contact the local waste management about correct disposal

• Dispose of older, lead wick candles

Air Pollution Control Division

Lead-Based Paint
Compliance Assistance Group

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division is responsible
for developing and implementing lead certification and abatement regulations for child occupied facilities
and target housing, as mandated by state statute (25-5-1101 C.R.S., et seq.). The statute governs the
inspection and assessment of lead based paint and lead based paint hazards, lead contaminated soil and lead

contaminated dust, and the abatement of lead based paint hazards.

The Colorado State Legislature has adopted the concept of "lead-safe" housing instead of "lead-free"
housing. Commensurate with this concept, the goal of the state regulations will not be the removal of all
lead-based paint, but the creation of housing and facilities where no significant lead-based paint hazard is

2010 Strategic Plan; Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning in Colorado

Childhood lead poisoning has been identified as the number one preventable environmental health threat to
children in the United States. In Colorado, a steering committee of some 20 individuals, representing a
variety of federal, state and local entities, both public and private, have partnered to coordinate the
development of a statewide lead poisoning elimination plan focused on three general areas of concern:
1. Identifying children who are at risk of lead poisoning, testing those children, and initiating action;
2. Educating parents and the public at large about the risks of lead poisoning and the role we each play in
preventing it; and
3. Identifying and controlling sources of lead in our environment.

This plan includes goals, objectives and strategies designed to prevent childhood lead poisoning. Everyone
can play a role in this important effort. Please the time to review the plan and contact us when you are ready
to get involved.

Rule Revision

The Air Pollution Control Division proposed revisions to Regulation No. 19, Lead-Based Paint Abatement,
that included requirements for Pre-Renovation Education in Target Housing. These requirements were

developed to match the U.S. EPA requirements under their Lead; Requirements for Hazard Education
Before Renovation of Target Housing final rule. The division's proposed revisions to Regulation No. 19
became effective on April 30, 2007.

• Regulation No. 19

Anyone whose work disturbs paint could be covered by Regulation 19, Part B. Some information about this
regulation can be found in our pamphlet: Colorado's Pre-Renovation Education Rule: Does it apply to you?
Preventing Lead Poisoning

We have some important information about preventing lead poisoning available in both English and Spanish
that we would like to share with you. Please read our bilingual flier Colorado, Let's Fight Lead Poisoning
and encourage someone you know to read it and share with another person.

Air Pollution Control Division

Lead-based Paint Hazards

The following are excerpts from the United States Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-
Based Paint Hazards in Housing:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is "the most
common environmental disease of young children." Lead is highly toxic and affects virtually every system
of the body. At low levels lead's neurotoxic effects have the greatest impact on children's developing brains
and nervous systems, causing reductions in IQ, decreased attention span, reading and learning disabilities,
hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

The foremost cause of childhood lead poisoning in the United States today is ingestion of lead-based paint
and the accompanying contaminated dust and soil found in or around older houses. HUD estimates that
three-quarters of pre-1980 housing units contain some lead-based paint. Fully 90 percent of privately owned
units built before 1940, 80 percent of units built between 1940 and 1959, and 62 percent of units built
between 1960 and 1979 contain some lead-based paint.

The belief that in order to be poisoned children must eat lead-based paint chips is unfounded. The most
common cause of poisoning is the ingestion--through hand-to-mouth transmission of lead-contaminated
surface dust. Leaded dust is generated as lead-based paint deteriorates over time, is damaged by moisture,
abraded on friction surfaces and impact surfaces, or distributed in the course of renovations, repair or

abatement projects. Lead contaminated dust may be so fine that it cannot be seen by the naked eye and can
be difficult to clean up.

Air Division Home

Lead Based Paint

During the 19th century, U.S. paint manufacturers began to use "white lead" as a pigment for house paint
because it could be tinted a variety of colors and was thought to be a protective coating. Although lead
poisoning from paint was documented as a serious threat to children in the early 1900s, lead was used in
paint on exterior and interior of homes, woodworking, furniture and even cribs, for decades.
In July of 1786, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter ("The Famous Franklin Letter On Lead Poisoning") in
which he detailed his observations of the effects of lead on the body. Franklin wrote, "You will see by it,
that the Opinion of this mischievous Effect from Lead, is at least above Sixty years old; and you will
observe with Concern how long a useful Truth may be known, and exist, before it is generally receiv'd and
practis'd on."

Mr. Franklin's observations were correct. It was not until 1978 that the federal government banned the use of
lead-based paint in housing. Therefore, if you live in a home that was built before 1978, chances are good
that it contains some lead-based paint. Dust and paint chips from leaded paint can cause serious health
hazards. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can reenter
the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.

Lead-based paint that is in good condition is generally not a health hazard. Leaded paint that is peeling,
chipping, chalking or cracking can pose a serious health hazard and needs prompt attention. Removing lead
paint improperly can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house.
Precautions need to be taken before beginning remodeling or renovations on surfaces containing lead-based
paint. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded or heated.

Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead-based paint found on surfaces that
children chew or on surfaces that get a lot of wear-and-tear also can be a serious health hazard.

These areas, known as friction surfaces, include:

• windows and window sills

• stairs, railings and bannisters

• doors and door frames

• porches and fences

Federal Disclosure Rule

As of December 6, 1996, a new federal law requires homeowners and landlords to disclose the known
presence of lead-based paint to all prospective buyers and/or renters of pre-1978 residences. Prospective
buyers of pre-1978 homes will have a 10-day period to check for the presence of lead-based paint hazards
before becoming obligated to a sales contract. The law also requires renovators to provide a pamphlet
detailing the hazards of lead based-paint before beginning work on pre-1978 dwellings.

How To Test For Lead-Based Paint

You can test your home for lead-based paint with an inexpensive home test kit, such as: Lead Check Swabs;
Know Lead; Lead Alert; or Enzone Products. Follow the manufacturers' directions on these home test kits.
The disposable tests turn pink when lead is present.

You also can have a qualified professional perform a paint inspection and/or risk assessment on your home
to determine the lead content of painted surfaces and the sources of lead exposure. A trained professional
will use an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine to locate the lead-based paint and take dust samples to
determine if an immediate health risk exists.

What To Do About Lead-Based Paint

If your home contains lead-based paint, you can remedy and/or reduce the risk of lead-contaminated dust
hazards by: (1) removing the lead-based paint from the home; (2) covering the lead-based paint by
encapsulation (a barrier formed using an approved liquid applied coating or an adhesive bonded covering
material) or enclosure (installation of a rigid, durable barrier that is mechanically attached to building
components, with all edges and seams sealed); or (3) controlling the dust by repairing damaged painted
surfaces, performing regular maintenance and cleaning weekly with a lead-specific detergent.

Although removing the lead-based paint from the home can eliminate lead-contaminated dust generated
from lead-based paint, it is a very costly, complicated process and must be done by a trained certified
professional. If the leaded paint is removed improperly, the final result could be a greater concentration of
lead-contaminated dust, causing a greater and more immediate health risk.

Although encapsulation or enclosure is generally less expensive than removing the lead-based paint, it can
be costly. Encapsulation or enclosure does not remove the lead-based paint from the home. In these
processes, a trained certified professional uses approved products to cover the lead-based paint to make
thedwelling lead-safe. Because the leaded paint remains underneath the covering, continued monitoring and
maintenance of the structure is necessary. Any damage to the covering, such as water or structural damage,
must be repaired. Additionally, if there are future renovations or remodeling of the home, precautions need
to be taken for lead-contaminated dust hazards.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
studies, and independent studies have shown that in-place management of lead-based paint is the most cost
effective way to significantly reduce the hazard of lead-contaminated dust. In-place management makes a
house lead-safe, rather than lead-free. Costs to perform in-place management activities is pennies per square
foot, rather than several dollars per square foot to perform the other methods. These activities involve the
repairing of areas where paint is chipping, cracking, chalking or peeling, and performing specialized
cleaning on a regular basis with a lead-specific detergent.

Lead-Specific Detergents

Lead-specific detergents will reduce elevated lead-contaminated dust levels to below current government
standards. These types of products are specifically formulated to attack lead compounds and have fewer
variables than tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or household cleaners. TSP is a severe eye and skin irritant and
can dull or damage painted surfaces and floors. Because TSP has a negative effect on the environment, its
use in consumer products is restricted and/or banned in virtually all states.

More importantly, household cleaners and TSP are not effective in removing lead-contaminated dust.
According to a recent study, Evaluation of the Clean-up of Lead Paint Dust in Houses, performed by the
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), "Cleaning of lead paint dust by either i) broom
cleaning and a utility vacuum, or ii) household vacuum, followed by mopping with a household cleaner, will
not meet either the current or proposed HUD clearance criteria."

Learn about lead paint hazards in your home and lead removal techniques

Lead Paint Hazards

The most common source of lead poisoning is lead-contaminated dust (LCD). This dust can be so fine that it
cannot be seen by the naked eye. Dusts can have thousands of parts per million lead by weight. The high
concentrations of lead in LCD means that even tiny quantities of dust exposure can result in a very high lead
intake. The current government standards for safe levels of lead-contaminated dust in housing are 100 µg/ft2
on floors; 500 µg/ft2 on window sills; and 800 µg/ft2 on window wells. Some experts believe these levels
are too high and should be lowered.

• Lead-Based Paint

• Lead-Contaminated Soil

• Lead in Household Items

• Lead Related Jobs and Hobbies

• The Famous Benjamin Franklin Letter on Lead Poisoning

Why Use Lead-Specific Detergents for Lead Removal?

Lead compounds in lead-contaminated dust (LCD) are found in a wide range of physical and chemical
forms. Some household LCD contains lead compounds from lead paint hazards. Household LCD also can
come from soil residues that include lead compounds that were used in leaded gasoline. Other lead
compounds in household LCD can come from a variety of industrial, hobby, or work related activities.
Different types and combinations of detergent ingredients are best for lead removal of different classes of
lead compounds. Lead-specific detergents are designed to remove the wide range of lead compounds found
in lead-contaminated dusts.

Household and general-purpose cleaners are designed to give a home a clean appearance, and in some cases
give some germicidal or other sanitary benefits. While certain household or general-purpose cleaners may
sometimes have some effectiveness against certain types of lead paint hazards, these kinds of cleaners are
not designed to remove the broad range of chemical classes of lead compounds found in lead-contaminated
dusts. With lead-specific detergents, it is less necessary to know the details of the lead compounds that are
causing the hazard -- making lead removal simple.

Lead-specific detergent formulations are adjusted to be able to dissolve lead compounds that can be easily
dissolved, as well as to chemically react with certain insoluble lead compounds to change them into a more

easily cleaned form, and also to disperse other non-reactive or insoluble particulate lead. This takes the
guesswork out of lead removal and leaves only one type of cleaner to use for each type of lead-contaminated
dust. This can be of particular importance when cleaning very high levels of lead dust and lead paint
hazards. For example, even if you suspect your hazardous lead dust comes from old lead-based paint, you
would not know which of the many types of lead compounds are used in that paint. A properly formulated
lead-specific detergent, such as

Ledizolv® -- The Lead-Specific DetergentTM -- is effective against the wide range of lead compounds
found in household LCD and is designed for lead removal down to trace levels.

Removing lead with Ledisolv

Bottles contain Ledizolv® concentrate. Prepare a 2% solution by adding concentrated Ledizolv® to water as
follows: 4 teaspoons to 1 quart of water, 1/3 cup to 1 gallon of water, one cup to 3 gallons of water, 1½ cups
to 5 gallons of water, or 1 gallon to 49 gallons of water to make a total of 50 gallons.
Wear rubber gloves. Clean and remove all toys, rugs and belongings from the room.
Use a HEPA vacuum (High Efficiency Particle Air Filter) or equivalent to vacuum all lead paint hazard
surfaces prior to cleaning. Clean and rinse all hard surfaces by any of the means below (A, B, C or D). Work
from top to the bottom starting at the farthest point from the exit of the room. Clean and rinse all walls,
window components, vents, baseboards, floors, other surfaces and crevices. Clean and rinse a small area at a
time before doing next area. Avoid re-contaminating clean areas while working.
A) Container, rinse bucket and clean rags:

Wet cleaning rag with 2% solution from the container and wipe surfaces until clean. Re-fold cleaning rag
periodically to expose fresh rag for cleaning. Rinse cleaning rag in clean rinse water before re-wetting in 2%
solution. Change and dispose of rinse water and rags when dirty. Rinse surface with fresh water and new

B) Spray bottle, rinse bucket and clean rags:

Spray 2% solution on surface and wipe off with rinse water rag. Dispose of rinse water and rags when dirty,
at least once per room.

C) Mop and 2 buckets:

Use disposable string mop heads. Mop floor with 2% solution. Wring mop in clean rinse water bucket

before repeating. Change and dispose of rinse water and mop heads when dirty. Do a final rinse using fresh

D) For porous and other hard-to-clean surfaces:

Use hot water to mix the 2% solution. Scrub surfaces. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the solution to soak before
rinsing. For best lead removal, pre-clean very dirty areas with a heavy duty or degreasing detergent.
For lead dust control, surfaces should be smooth and cleanable. Inspect and re-clean surfaces frequently.
Have periodic professional lead dust sampling performed to determine cleaning frequency. Weekly cleaning
may be required.
Dangerous lead in dust can come from lead paint hazards, household items, lead-contaminated soil, lead
pollution and lead related jobs and hobbies. The most common cause of lead poisoning is ingestion of
leaded dust from deteriorated lead-based paint. Repair paint before cleaning. To learn about the steps you
should take to control lead hazards call 800-532-3394. Use Ledizolv® to clean surfaces according to a
hazard control specification from a lead paint hazard professional, or call 800-245-2691 to obtain a copy of
the "Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing". Consult a doctor
if you suspect you or a family member has been exposed to lead.

Lead and Hemoglobin Level in Blood of OccupationallyExposed Workers at Brack Alshatti Area, Libya

Hawad, A. F. Eman, M. A. Amnia, B. F. Elssaidi, M. A.

Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Sabha University Brack Alshatti, Libya.

ABSTRACT The targets of lead toxicity are all the body organs and many biochemical processes and
heme synthesis is one of those. The present study includes 43 workers out of which 20 are working at fuel
station and car maintenance workshop ie. (13 fuel station and 7 car maintenance workshop). These workers
were considered as lead occupationally exposed one. Among these 50% was smoker. 23 workers were non
lead occupationally exposed one and non of them were smoker and painters. This study was conducted to
determine the level of lead and hemoglobin in the blood of these workers. Analysis results show elevated
level of blood lead, in occupationally and non occupationally exposed group of workers with respect to
normal value. Hemoglobin values were within normal range for all workers. Its conclude based on our
finding that in spit of high level of lead ,there was no adverse symptoms are observed however there is a
need for detail investigation on toxicity aspect of lead and degree of impairments in functional activities of
different organs. Key words

: lead, occupational, blood level, pollution, fuel station, car workshop maintenance


Exposure to heavy metals particularly lead remains a widespread issue and its toxicity studied well. The
occupational exposure of lead consider to be the most important factor that cause its increase level in blood,.
The absorbed dose of metals is affected by geochemical, biochemical, and physiological parameters that
influence the rate and extent of absorption (Heath,2003). Lead occurs everywhere in the environment. Its
concentration in soil ranges from 2-200µg/g, in the top soil and in water1-10µg/L due to human activities
(Alstof, 1994). The concentration near the roadways can be 30-200mg/kg higher than the natural levels due

to use of leaded-gasoline (Badawy,2002). The quantity of lead in atmosphere at areas far from any source is
reported to be approximately 0.1µg/m

Lead concentration in atmosphere is from deferent sources like industries (large and small) and traffic (lead
in fuel and type of engine), amount of lead in the fuel, and type of engine (Alstof, 1994 and Fargusson,
1990). The concentration of lead at surrounding environment affected by number of factors that included the
height of source from land surface ,how far from source and from the building, type of sources, the speed of
wind, wind direction, temperature of air, stability of air, vertical distribution. All these were studied in case
source of lead is petroleum (gasoline). (Fergusson, 1990).

The amount of lead that released into atmosphere as a form of molecules account between 70-80% from
the total amount of lead in the fuel (Alstof,., 1994). A study in U.K. shows that 98% of atmospheric lead is
from fuel that contains lead (Timberll, 1998). Workers in certain occupations like traffic policeman and
worker in fuel stations are exposed to high levels of lead (Bishop1996). Lead paint is a primary source of
lead exposure and the major sources of lead toxicity in children .In U.S. 38 million homes were estimated to
have lead paint, of those 24 million are considered to contain significant lead-based paint hazards, including
deterioration paint and or contaminated dust or soil outside the homes ( LynPatrick, 2006).

Lead salts like lead acetate and lead carbonate that used in ointment, battery, solder bars, ceramic,
insecticide, paints, building materials, tin bars in can food packaging cans, water pipes connectors and also
earthenware industries use rich in lead salts, all these can be source of lead reaching to the humans body
(Wajih, 1993). Lead compounds are easily soluble in gastric secretion than that of intestinal. In case of
constipation or food low in calcium, most of lead is absorbed. Phosphate and vitamin D have a role in lead
absorption; protein in food has lower role for lead absorption. Lead had characteristics similar to calcium
that will be able to absorb into bone under certain specific condition. Inorganic compounds of lead which
are soluble in fat naturally can not penetrate the skin, but fat insoluble molecules can penetrate mostly
through hair follicles and fatty glands. But in case of skin damages, like skin burns the absorption will be
faster (Couslson & Korte, 1975, Montgomery,1998). Lead exposure occurs mainly through the respiratory

gastrointestinal tracts. Approximately 30-40 percent of inhaled lead is absorbed into blood stream (Phillip
& Gerson, 1994). Gastrointestinal absorption varies depending on nutritional status, and age. Iron is
believed to impair lead uptake in gut, while iron deficiency is associated with increased blood lead
concentrations in children (Ziegler, 1994). Calcium supplementation studies demonstrate

2that increased dietary calcium in animals, infants and children result in consistent decreases in the
absorption of lead (Phillip & Gerson, 1994). Increased intakes of magnesium, phosphate, alcohol and dietary
fat also have been shown to decrease gastrointestinal absorption of lead (Barltrop & Khoo, 1975 and
Barltrop & Meek, 1979). Anemia is one of the most characteristics symptom that indicates high and chronic
exposure lead, which is due to inhibition of number of enzymes that are involved in heme-synthesis, and as
result heme synthesis is impaired and anemia is developed. Lead also effects iron carrier system through cell

membrane of red blood cell (Piomelli, 1981). Studies on animals shows that lead causes fragility and break
red blood cells. These facts were demonstrated by many studies performed on humans (Monteiro, 1989 and
Guer, 1998). The present study aims to determine the level of lead and hemoglobin levels in blood of lead
occupationally exposed workers compared with respect to non-lead occupationally exposed workers.

Materials and Methods:

This study included 43 workers, from which 13 subjects are working at fuel station, 7workers in car
maintenance workshop. These workers are considered as lead occupationally exposed. Their ages ranges
from 22-58 year and their occupational period ranged from 1-35 year. None of them were working as painter
however; about 50% of them were smoking. 23 workers were taken as a control non ie. not involved in
occupation having lead exposure. This group was non- smoking and their age all most same as first group.
(First group lead exposed) They were also appearing healthy. Blood samples were taken for both groups into
containers contain sodium citrate for lead determination, and others containing EDAT for hemoglobin

Lead was determined by dry digestion (ashing) method, and flow injection analysis using atomic
absorption spectrophotometer as described earlier (Willard, 1981). Hemoglobin was determined by using
ready prepared solutions, from Spinach LABKIT Company as described by (Brown, 1995).


Table (1) shows means of lead, hemoglobin concentrations and standard deviation in blood of
occupationally and non occupationally lead exposed. The values for lead concentrations were 67.4±39.9,
82.4±31.4 respectively and hemoglobin levels were14.51±1.28, 14.01±1.45 respectively in occupationally
and none occupationally exposed workers. The mean values of lead greater in case of none occupationally

than that of occupationally lead exposed group, butthe difference were not statistically significant p=0.175,
however, the values of hemoglobin were .Table shows lead and hemoglobin concentrations in blood of
worker at car maintenance workshop and fuel station. The values of lead were found at 57.3±28.7 and
72.9±44.7, and hemoglobin at 15.23±1.22, 14.12±1.18 respectively. These values were not statistically
different (p =0.416 for lead, 0.064 for hemoglobin).

Table (1): Concentration of lead and hemoglobin in occupationally and non occupationally lead exposed
(Car maintenance workshop and fuel station workers):


The concentration of lead effects in humans is not determined yet established (Habal, 2006). Present
study shows elevation of blood lead in both occupationally and non occupationally lead exposed workers ie.
67.4 ±39.7 and 82.4±31.4 respectively, these values were not statistically different. The increase of lead
level for non occupationally exposed indicates presence of other source of lead that reaches the humane

body than occupationally exposed. The source of lead exposure can be occupational and environmental as
stated (Doumouchtsis,2006).This fact may explain the elevation of lead in blood sample taken from both
groups of workers. The high level of lead in blood of both car maintenance workshop and fuel station
workers shows that occupations can be hazardous for lead toxicity to workers besides smoking habit , values
at 72.9±44.7 and 57.7±28.7 for these occupations were not statistically significant. Lead chronic toxicity is
increased by increasing blood lead levels. The symptoms are varied by age. Hemoglobin synthesis is
impaired in childrenwhen lead levels 40 µg/dl, while in adult 50 µg/dl (Burtis & Ashwood,1990). Patients
with blood lead poisoning can be asymptomatic or may have subtle, non specific symptoms
(Doumouchtsis,2006). No adverse symptoms were observed on the workers. The hemoglobin valves were
within normal ranges for both occupationally and non occupationally exposed. The effects of lead on some
biological structure begin as the concentration of blood lead reach 80 µg/dl (Kumar and Clark, 1996). Lead
exposure may decrease lifespan a recent study was conducted on group of 4292 workers with lead level 20-
29 µg/dl compare with levels < 10 µg/dl.. Workers with higher blood levels had a risk of all causes of
motility, cardiovascular mortality and cancer mortality (Lustbery & silbergeld, 2002 and Needleman, 2004).


This study concluded that many occupationally and none occupationally lead exposed have elevate
blood lead level than normal .due to occupational and environmental exposure; blood lead is not usually
associated with anemia. The level of lead and hemoglobin are not statistically significant however such level
may cause mortality cardiovascular and impairments of other body organs due to long manifestations


: Alstof, A.H.(1995).Environmental pollution. First edition. Sabha University. Great Jamahiriya. Pp267-290.
Badawy, S.H.., Helal, H.I.D., Chaudri, K.L. and McGrath, S.P.(2 002).Soil solid phase controls lead activity
in soil solution. J. Environ. Qual., 31:162-167. Barltrop, D.and Meek, F.(1974).Effect of particle size on
lead absorption from gut. Arch. Environ. Health.34:280-265.Barltrop, D. and Khoo, H.E.(1975). The
influence of nutrition factors on blood absorption. Postgrad. Hed. J. 51:795-800.Bishop, M. , duben. J and
Fody, E.P. (1996) , clinical chemistry, 2
Study: Halloween face paint laced with leadTop of
yahoo_green643 http://green.yaho http://green.yaho article 1 orion e01d5


Bottom of Form
Some children's face paints are laced with undisclosed heavy metals that are known to be both acutely
poisonous and to cause long-term health problems, ranging from skin sensitivity and brain damage.

The testing, by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of health and environmental groups, found that
many face paints -- including those used in Halloween costume makeup -- often contain lead, nickel, cobalt
and chromium. None of those ingredients, however, were listed on product packaging.

Makeup brands included Don Post Grease Paint Color Wheel, Alex Face Paint Studio, and Rubie’s Silver
Metallic. Download the full report (PDF) for complete list.

The testing was limited to 10 Halloween face paint products bought at a seasonal store, but disturbing
enough: All 10 costume makeups contained detectable amounts of lead, which is such a well-known
pollutant that the federal government has banned or severely restricted its use in gasoline, paint, and -- most
recently -- toys.

Exposure to lead is known to cause permanent brain damage, particularly if children are exposed in the
womb or during the first six years of life, and can lead to a lifetime of problems ranging from learning
disabilities to violent tendencies.

Six of the 10 Halloween face paints tested had nickel, cobalt, and/or chromium, all of which exceeded
voluntary industry safety guidelines, and all of which could cause allergic reactions in some people,
according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

At least one Halloween costume makeup labeled "nontoxic" and "hypoallergenic" -- Snazaroo Face Paint --
contained some of the highest levels of lead, nickel, and cobalt detected by the Campaign for Safe
Cosmetics' study.
The report also found many hazardous ingredients listed on the labels of Halloween hair-color sprays and
makeup products, including butane (persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic), thiram (neurotoxic, possibly
carcinogenic, used as a pesticide), alumina (neurotoxic), and propylene glycol (possibly carcinogenic), plus
pigment green 7 and pigment blue 15, which are not approved by FDA for use in cosmetics.

According to the Campaign, these ingredients aren't listed on Halloween face paints because they aren't
main ingredients and the Food and Drug Administration doesn't require the industry to label "contaminants."
That doesn't mean they couldn't cause harm, or that parents wouldn't want to know about them before
choosing costume makeup for use on their children's face.

See these 10 ways to protect your children from toxic face paint, or see the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics'
DIY face paint recipes. If you feel your child has been exposed to lead, contact your healthcare provider,
and make sure the child is getting a diet full of calcium, iron and Vitamin C, which can help counteract lead


Patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film resembling the regular scales of an alligator.


 Application of an extremely hard, rigid coating, like an alkyd enamel, over a more flexible coating,
like a latex primer.

 Application of a top coat before the undercoat is dry.

Natural aging of oil-based paints as temperatures fluctuate. The constant expansion and contraction
results in a loss of paint film elasticity.


 Old paint should be completely removed by scraping and sanding the surface; a heat gun can be used
to speed work on large surfaces, but take care to avoid igniting paint or substrate. The surface should
be primed with high quality latex or oil-based primer, then painted with a top quality exterior latex


Bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion, and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface.


 Painting a warm surface in direct sunlight.

 Application of oil-based or alkyd paint over a damp or wet surface.

 Moisture escaping through the exterior walls (less likely with latex paint than with oil-based or alkyd

 Exposure of latex paint film to dew, high humidity or rain shortly after paint has dried, especially if
there was inadequate surface preparation.


 If blisters go down to the substrate: try to remove the source of moisture. Repair loose caulking;
consider installing vents or exhaust fans. Remove blisters (see Below).

 If blisters do not go all the way down to the substrate: remove them by scraping, then sanding, prime
bare wood and repaint with a quality latex exterior paint.

Formation of fine powder on the surface of the paint film during weathering which can cause color fading.
Although some degree of chalking is a normal, desirable way for a paint film to wear, excessive film erosion
can result from heavy chalking.


 Use of a low-grade, highly pigmented paint.

 Use of an interior paint for an outdoor application.


 First, remove as much of the chalk residue as possible, scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush (or wire
brush on masonry) and then rinse thoroughly; or use power washing equipment. Check for any
remaining chalk by running a hand over the surface after it dries. If noticeable chalk is still present,
apply a quality oil-based or acrylic latex primer (or comparable sealer for masonry), then repaint
with a quality exterior coating; if little or no chalk remains and the old paint is sound, no priming is


The washing down of chalk from an excessively eroding paint onto another area below (a brick foundation,
for example), ruining its appearance (see Chalking).

 Use of a lower quality, highly pigmented paint.

 Use of an interior paint for an outdoor application.

 Erosion of factory-finished metal siding.


 Remove as much of the chalk residue as possible (see Chalking). Scrub any stained areas with a stiff
brush, using a detergent solution; rinse thoroughly. In cases of severe staining, an acid wash may be
necessary. Either way, if the affected area dries to a different color, consider painting it with a
quality latex paint. Eroding aluminum siding should be thoroughly cleaned (power washing
recommended) before painting with a quality exterior latex paint.


The splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint.
Early on, the problem appears as hairline cracks; later, flaking of paint chips occurs.


 Use of a lower quality that has inadequate adhesion and flexibility.

 Overthinning the paint or spreading it too thin.Poor surface preparation, especially when the paint is
applied to bare wood without priming.

 Painting under cool or windy conditions that make latex paint dry too fast.


 It may be possible to correct cracking that does not go down to the substrate by removing the loose
or flaking paint with a scraper or wire brush, sanding to feather the edges, priming any bare spots
and repainting.
 If the cracking goes down to the substrate remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of
a heat gun; then prime and repaint with a quality exterior latex paint.


Accumulation of dirt, dust particles and/or other debris on the paint film; may resemble mildew.


 Use of a low quality paint, especially lower grades of satin or semigloss.

Soil splashing onto siding.

 Air pollution, car exhaust and flying dust collecting on house body and horizontal trim.


 Wash off all surface dirt before priming and painting, using a scrub brush and detergent solution,
followed by a thorough rinsing with a garden hose. Heavier dirt accumulations may require the use
of a power washer. While dirt pickup can't be eliminated entirely, top quality exterior latex paints
typically offer superior dirt pickup resistance and washability. Also, higher gloss paints are more
resistant to dirt pickup than flat paints, which are more porous and can more easily entrap dirt.

Crusty, white salt deposits, leached from mortar or masonry as water passes through it.


 Failure to adequately prepare surface by removing all previous efflorescence.

 Excess moisture escaping through the exterior masonry walls from behind.


 If excess moisture is the cause, eliminate the source by repairing the roof, cleaning out gutters and
downspouts, and sealing any cracks in the masonry with a high quality, water-based all-acrylic or
siliconized acrylic caulk. If moist air is originating inside the building, consider installing vents or
exhaust fans, especially in kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas. Remove the efflorescence and all
other loose material with a wire brush, power brush or power washer; then thoroughly rinse the
surface. Apply a quality water-based or solvent-based masonry sealer or primer, and allow it to dry
completely; then apply a coat of top quality exterior house paint, masonry paint or elastomeric wall


Premature and/or excessive lightening of the paint color, which often occurs on surfaces with sunny
southern exposure. Fading/poor color retention can also be a result of chalking of the coating.


 Use of an interior grade of paint for an outdoor application.

 Use of a lower quality paint, leading to rapid degradation (chalking) of the paint film.

 Use of a paint color that is particularly vulnerable to UV radiation (most notably certain bright reds,
blues, and yellows).

 Tinting a white paint not intended for tinting, or overtinting a light or medium paint base.


 When fading/poor color retention is a result of chalking, it is necessary to remove as much of the
chalk as possible (see Chalking). In repainting, be sure to use a quality exterior house paint in colors
recommended for exterior use.


A white, salt-like substance on the paint surface. Frosting can occur on any paint color, but it is less
noticeable on white paint or lighter tints. On masonry, it can be mistaken for efflorescence (see
Efflorescence and Mottling).


 Forms mostly in protected areas (such as under eaves and on porch ceilings) that do not receive the
cleansing action of rain, dew and other moisture.

 Use of dark-colored paints that have been formulated with calcium carbonate extender.
Application of a dark-colored paint over a paint or primer containing calcium carbonate extender.


 Frosting can be a stubborn problem. It often cannot be washed off readily. Moreover, the condition
can recur even as a bleed-through when a new top coat is applied. In extreme cases, it can interfere
with adhesion. The best remedy is to remove the frosting by wirebrushing masonry or sanding wood
surfaces; rinse, then apply an alkyd-based primer before adding a coat of high quality exterior paint.


Appearance of a denser color or ligher gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application.


 Failure to maintain a "wet edge" when applying paint.


 Maintain a wet edge when painting by applying paint toward the unpainted area and then back into
the just painted surface. This technique (brushing from "wet to dry" rather than vice versa) will
produce a smooth uniform appearance. It is also wise to minimize the area being painted, and plan
for interruptions at a natural break, such as a window, door or corner (especially important when
applying stain to bare wood). Alkyd paints generally have superior wet edge properties.