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Lead FAQ

Q: What is lead?
A: Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products found in and around the home. While there are many sources of lead, the one of most common concern is lead-based paint found in many older homes. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978, and some states stopped its use even earlier.

Q: Why is lead dangerous?
A: Lead is a dangerous substance, especially for young children. If not detected early, children with high levels of lead can suffer from damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches.

Although less susceptible to lead poisoning than children, adults can suffer from difficulties during pregnancy, other reproductive problems (found in both men and women), high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint pain.

Q: Why are children more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults?
A: Babies and young children are more susceptible to lead poising because they often put their hands or other objects in their mouths. Lead can enter the body when someone puts his or her hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths. Lead can also enter the body when someone eats paint chips or soil containing lead, or breathes in lead dust, especially during property renovation projects that disturb painted surfaces.

Also, children are more susceptible to lead poisoning because their growing bodies absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

Q: Where can lead be found?
A: In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Places, objects, and activities where lead can be found include pre-1978 homes and properties, soil, dust, drinking water, old painted toys or furniture, food or liquid stored in lead-glazed containers, industries using lead, hobbies using lead, and folk remedies containing lead.

More information on Where Lead Can Be Found

Q: How can I protect my home and family from the dangers of lead?
A: If you suspect that there is lead in your home or that your family has been exposed to lead, there are some steps you can take to ensure their protection. First, have your children's lead levels measured through a simple blood test. Second, contact a qualified professional to assess the lead content of the paint in your home and/or to assess the risks of serious lead exposure. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Lead Information Center for a list of contacts in your area.

More information on Protecting Your Family and Home from the Dangers of Lead

Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of lead exposure?
A: If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions that might be related to lead exposure, you should first seek immediate medical attention. In the event that you have used products containing lead, or if you are concerned that you and your family have been exposed to lead around the home, you may wish to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries caused by lead exposure.

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