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Source: NH Department of Health & Human Services

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew for sure that you weren’t being slowly poisoned?

The dangers of lead have been known for years. Unfortunately, lead still exists in many common items such as batteries, ceramic and glass.

Your chance of being exposed to lead depends on your job and your hobbies. This list is just some of the jobs and hobbies that can expose you to high lead levels:

  • Repairing or cleaning automobile radiators
  • Manufacturing/recycling batteries
  • Scrap metal handing or reclamation
  • Making cables and cable splicers
  • Auto body repair
  • Working as a plumber
  • Repairing bridges
  • Making jewelry
  • Installing roofing
  • Making pottery
  • Working at a brass, copper or lead foundry
  • Renovating, demolishing or welding old structures
  • Soldering or smelting lead
  • Welding
  • Manufacturing ammunition
  • Frequent use of indoor firing ranges
  • Manufacturing or “biting” lead fishing sinkers
  • Stained glass making
  • Renovating or restoring old homes
  • Lead abatement work
  • Burning treated or painted wood in fireplaces

Just when you thought it was safe to breathe…

Exposure to lead occurs when lead particles find their way into the air you breathe, or into your food, drink, clothes, cigarettes, or anything else in its path. That’s why any activity involving lead-especially if it includes sanding, scraping, blasting, demolition, building, heating, smelting or welding-can expose you to lead poisoning.

If you are exposed to lead, particles and dust can be brought into your house on work clothes and equipment. This is called “take home” lead and can harm young children. Find out about working safely with lead and how to protect your family.

Lead on the job? There are some facts you should know.

Your employer must provide you with a Material Safety Data Sheet for any dangerous material used in the workplace, including lead. Your employer may also have requirements to meet, including safety training, providing protective clothing and equipment, monitoring your blood lead level, removing you from the job (with pay) if your lead level gets too high, and/or other preventative measures. Ask your employer, joint loss management committee, or nearest OSHA office for more information.

The symptoms can be confused with other illnesses.

Many symptoms of lead poisoning are also symptoms of other illnesses. Early symptoms might include a stomach ache and cramps, tiredness and trouble sleeping, constipation, irritability, poor appetite, nervousness, headache, and a metallic taste in your mouth.

Later signs can include nausea, memory problems, impotence, sexual and reproductive problems, weak wrists or ankles, and high blood pressure. These symptoms vary from one person to another. It is also possible to have lead poisoning without noticing any symptoms!

Getting tested is the best way to learn your lead level.

A blood test is the most common way to learn the level of lead in your blood. It is a simple test that measures the amount of lead in your bloodstream. If you work with lead or lead products, or if you suspect you have been exposed to lead because of your job or hobby, see your doctor to discuss the need for a blood test.