Call Us: (716) 833-0043

Is lead a toxic air contaminant?

Is lead a toxic air contaminant?

What is lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that was once used in the manufacturing of common household goods, water pipes, and gasoline. 

It IS a toxic air contaminant and dangerous to human health. 

Lead has been used worldwide and continues to be used in various industries across the globe. One of the most common uses for lead in the United States prior to 1979 was as a paint additive.

Years ago, lead was added to paint to enhance color, increase durability, and give the painted surface a long lasting shine. That is, until it was discovered that lead-based paint (and lead use overall) is toxic to both the environment and human health. 

After 1979, there was a global response to lead use that prohibited the use of lead in paint and other goods such as gasoline. Some countries, including the United States, regulate the use of lead in an effort to reduce lead-contaminated air. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses air quality monitors across the United States. 

As a result of EPA’s regulatory efforts, including the removal of lead from motor vehicle gasoline, levels of lead in the air decreased by 98 percent between 1980 and 2014 in the United States. 

The regulations, however, do not prevent deteriorating structures from emitting toxic lead particles into the air.

There are many sources of lead exposure that people still need to be aware of today. 

How Does Lead Get Into the Air?

Lead can be present in indoor and outdoor air from a variety of sources:

  • Deteriorated paint (used in a variety of ways)
  • Waste incinerators 
  • Lead acid battery production
  • Lead smelter (used in the production of lead)
  • Heavily trafficked roads or highways
  • Ammunition for weapons

What are the health effects of lead poisoning?

Lead dust can cause physical and mental damage to adults and children. Children under 5 years old, however, are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning. 

The negative effects of this toxic metal are far reaching and impact all body systems. The human body absorbs the lead into the bones and causes a whole host of problems:

  • Neurological effects (tingling in hands and feet)
  • Intellectual disability (early exposure in children)
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue 
  • Reproductive issues 
  • Depression
  • Irritability 
  • Behavioral problems in children

How will I know if the air is contaminated?

The best way to protect yourself, your family, or your tenants is to have a lead-risk assessment or lead paint inspection performed on your property. 

AMD Environmental’s knowledge, experience, specialized lead paint testing techniques and technology help to identify all lead-based surface coatings in the home. Surfaces in a home or building only need to be inspected for lead once—with that information, AMD’s team can help determine cost-effective ways to eliminate or control any future issues.