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 http://www.cdc.gov/lead or read these DHEC brochures: