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Lead Poisoning: Jobs and Hobbies That May Increase Risk

Topic Overview

Lead poisoning is usually caused by months or years of exposure to small amounts of lead at home, work, or day care. It can also happen very quickly if you are exposed to high amounts of lead.

Lead exposure can occur during work and hobbies if you breathe fumes and dust that contain lead. It can also happen if you swallow lead because of food, drinks, makeup, tobacco products, clothing, and hands contaminated with lead.

You can expose your family members to lead if you take lead home on your clothes, skin, or hair or if it is on your tools or in your car.

Jobs or hobbies that may involve working with lead or being exposed to dust or fumes from lead include:

  • Lead smelter work.
  • Auto repair.
  • Precious metals refining.
  • Construction, particularly remodeling or renovating.
  • Abatement work (such as asbestos removal or hazardous waste-related work).
  • Battery manufacturing or recycling.
  • Radiator repair.
  • Bridge/highway painting.
  • Ceramics.
  • Furniture refinishing.
  • Stained glass work.
  • Art restoration.
  • Fishing (if lead sinkers are used).
  • Indoor target practice or bullet making (both can generate lead dust).

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Last Revised June 5, 2012

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