For today’s youth, lead poisoning is more so an idea than a reality. Most younger people understand what lead poisoning is, but cannot recognize its symptoms and do not realize they still run the risk of getting it.

Before 1978 when lead was banned, it was common in paint for homes, children’s toys, and furniture. That being said, many older houses often still have remnants of lead, especially if they are the houses of those that have not moved since around the time of the ban and have not changed out their furniture. Nowadays, lead soldered pipes run the risk of lead particles ending up in tap water. Also, even though lead soldered canned goods are illegal to make in the United States, they are not illegal to import.

Symptoms in adults include high blood pressure, memory loss, muscle and joint pains, reduced sperm count, constipation, headaches, sudden occurrence of mood disorders, miscarriage or premature birth, and diminishing mental function. Very high levels of lead exposure can result in death.

Certain hobbies and jobs increase one’s chance of getting lead poisoning. For example, any job that involves working with batteries can most likely guarantee exposure. Auto repair shops also usually contain a considerable amount of lead. Home renovators, especially those that renovate older homes should take certain safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, to minimize exposure. The Pohl & Berk website says that industrial plants and factories are the most common places for toxic exposure.

To minimize lead exposure, make sure you are washing your hands and any toys you may have as much as possible. In addition to keeping yourself clean, keep your house clean as well. The less dust that is in your home, the less likely you will be exposed to lead. When using tap water, run cold water for a minute, and never use hot water for cooking. The best offense is a good defense, so make sure you are eating healthy, because good nutrition aides in lower lead absorption.