7 Places That Might Have Lead

Lead has been used by the human race for centuries. The earliest recorded use of lead was in ancient Turkey, around 6,500 BCE. It can cause nervous system and kidney damage, stunted growth, reproductive issues, and delayed development. People discovered its toxic effects as early as 2,000 BCE but continued to work with it despite this knowledge. Lead has been added to paint, because it increases drying speed and durability, retains a fresh appearance, and deters moisture buildup. While many countries have banned the use of lead in paint, such as the United States in 1978, some countries still add it to many products. Lead can be hidden in various places. Keep a vigilant eye on the following areas:

1. Road Markings

Historically, yellow road paint contained lead chromate in order to maintain the bright color and prevent moisture from destroying the marking. While lead was outlawed in the 1970s, very old paint might still have it. The Department of Ecology in Washington also did random tests on more contemporary traffic paint, checking yellow traffic lines to verify no high amounts of lead were present. While it found traces of lead in all samples, they were small enough to be considered below the level of detection.

2. Houses Built Before 1978

All buildings constructed and painted before the lead ban could be contaminated with lead. If the paint is smooth and unmarked, you and your children will be unaffected, but broken and peeling paint releases particles into the air and creates a hazard for smaller kids.

3. Paintings

White lead paint was widely used by artists until the twentieth century, as it was the only oil pigment of that color available. Older works of art are more likely have it than more modern works of art, because zinc and titanium replaced lead as the base. Some artists continue to use it today, as it has a particularly unique structure.

4. Toys

While the United States has a particular limit on the amount of lead used in paint, not all countries do. For example, in 2007, about 967,000 Fisher-Price toys in the United States were recalled (manufactured in China) because the surface paints allegedly had excessive lead levels. They later paid a $2.3 million civil penalty for violating the 1978 ban.

5. Spices

Just last year, a New Jersey spice company, Gel Spice Inc., recalled several of their turmeric products. A routine sampling done by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found increased presence of lead in the turmeric.

6. Drinking Water

Water pipes built in the early 1900s often used lead in their construction because it was cheap and easy to shape. If various acidic contaminants are present in the water, the lead is allowed to seep into the same liquid that comes out of kitchen sinks, showers, and drinking fountains. Most cities treat the water to some degree until lead levels are considered “acceptable,” but no older systems are entirely lead-free. Timeworn and leeching lead pipes resulted in the Flint water crisis, when poorly treated and corrosive water exposed more than 100,000 people to high amounts of lead.

7. Home Remedies

Certain imported home remedies and cosmetics could have traces of lead, especially if the country of origin has lax or nonexistent lead testing. A Mexican folk remedy called azarcon (lead tetroxide) has been used by some to alleviate digestive symptoms, but can be deadly. Another treatment of South Asian origin, ghasard, is also used to combat indigestion and contains dangerous levels of lead.

If you think you or your loved ones have been exposed to lead, contact one of our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys for a free case consultation. You may be entitled to compensation.