Lead paint is still used in workplaces and workers are often exposed during painting and removal. Workers who work around welding, vehicle batteries and radiators, and gun ammunition can also be exposed.
Most lead exposure happens when small amounts of lead dust or mist gets in your mouth. Lead exposure can cause organ and nerve damage, high blood pressure, and memory loss. It is especially bad for pregnant women. Some symptoms of lead exposure are stomach pain, being tired or cranky, having trouble concentrating, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have no symptoms. A simple blood test can show how much lead is in your body.
Be sure to:
- Wash your hands and face before eating or smoking.
- Never dry sweeping or shoveling when there might be lead in the material.
- Use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters.
- Wash and dry your work clothes separately, so you don't carry lead dust home to your family.
Workers who are exposed to high levels of lead have special protection to keep their jobs.