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    Lead Exposure from Jobs and Hobbies

You could bring lead home on your hands or clothes, or contaminate your home directly if you:

  • Work with lead or lead-based paint
  • Have a hobby that uses lead
  • Are a renovator or contractor
  • Own or operate a rifle range
  • Use folk remedies


If you work with lead and/or lead-based paint in your job you have an increased risk of elevated lead levels or causing exposure to your family.  Are you a renovator or painter?  Do you mine or smelt?  Does your job include battery recycling, refinishing of old furniture or maybe you work at a shooting range.

Possibly you have a hobby that uses lead.  Hobbies can include hunting, fishing, stained glass, stock cars, making pottery and more.  Lead is found in ammunition shot, fishing weights, sinkers and jigs, solder for stained glass, pottery dyes and glazes and weights used in stock cars to name a few.  When working with lead, never put lead containing materials in your mouth, avoid handling food or touching your mouth or face while working with lead materials and make sure you wash your hands before eating or drinking.  It is also recommended that you shower and change clothes before entering your vehicle or returning home.  You will want to launder your work and hobby clothes separate from the rest of your family's clothing.  Keep all work and hobby materials away from living areas. 

If someone in your family is a renovator or contractor working in older housing, built before 1978, find out more about lead-safe work practices.

If you are an owner or operator of an outdoor rifle, pistol, trap, skeet or sporting clay range, find out more about lead management at ranges.


   Folk Remedies can expose you to elevated lead.

Some folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and “azarcon,” are used to treat an upset stomach. Some folk remedies for morning sickness, including "nzu", "poto" and "calabash chalk," contain dangerous levels of lead and other chemicals. Consuming even small amounts of lead can be harmful. Lead poisoning from folk remedies can cause serious and irreversible illness.  Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on lead in folk remedies.