Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: October 20-26

Man working in metal scrap yard

The California Department of Public Health in raising awareness about lead safety this week.  The most common way for adults to encounter lead is in their workplaces.  Safe practices when working around lead can entirely prevent lead poisoning.  Visit the CDPH’s Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program for more information for both employees and employers: click here 

How lead can enter the body: 

  • Inhalation of dust containing lead: working in an environment where lead dust is present without respiratory protection
  • Swallowing tiny particles of lead: not washing hands prior to eating/drinking/smoking after working with lead

Health effects of lead:

Even low blood lead levels are associated with negative health effects: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Kidney damage
  • Miscarriage

Preventing lead poisoning:

  • Be aware if you are working with lead: ask your employer, review Safety Data Sheets posted at work
  • Wear the respirator recommended by your employer, and take care to maintain it properly
  • Wash your hands and face before eating/drinking/smoking during work or after work
  • Remove lead-contaminated clothes at your worksite.  If you must launder them yourself, wash them separately from household laundry