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What is it?

Lead (Pb) is a solid metal that can be found in the air in a dust-like form called particulate matter.

Where can it be found?

Lead can be found in many difference places including:

  • Leaded gas (which is no longer sold in the U.S.)
  • Paint found in old houses and on some cars
  • Smelters - which are used in metal refineries
  • The manufacturing process of lead storage batteries
  • Contaminated soil and dust

What are the health effects of lead?

  • Brain and other nervous system damage, especially in children
  • Digestive problems
  • Reproductive system damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Learning disabilities in children

What are the environmental effects of lead?

  • Can be harmful to wildlife
  • Contaminated soil can damage plants

What can you do to protect yourself from lead poisoning?

  • Don't disturb, handle, or eat paint chips.
  • Wash your hands immediately after touching or handling dirt and never eat dirt.

To learn more about lead, check out the Centers for Disease Control's web pages at or read these DHEC brochures: