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Adults and Lead Poisoning

construction worker with pipes

The most common cause of adult lead poisoning is occupational exposure to lead in the construction industry. Workers are exposed by breathing lead dust or lead fumes during construction activities that disturb old lead-based paint, such as renovations, repairs, demolition, and clean-up. Workers in other industries, as well as hobbyists, may be at risk if they work with metal, paint, pigments, or glazes that contain lead. Adults also can be exposed to lead through the use of contaminated products such as imported health remedies, spices, foods, pottery and cosmetics.

Lead poisoning in adults can cause serious health effects such as, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, brain damage, kidney damage and reproductive damage. However, most adults with lead poisoning don’t look or feel sick. Symptoms adults may feel include headaches, stomach cramps, constipation, muscle/joint pain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, irritability, loss of sex drive.

If you think you may have been exposed to lead, answer the questions in:

See your doctor for a venous blood lead test if you answer yes to any of the questions. To find out where to get a blood lead test, or if you have questions about your exposure to lead, call 311 and ask for the Healthy Homes Program.

Preventing Lead Poisoning in the Workplace

Federal and state laws require employers to protect workers from exposure to lead. If you work in a job that exposes you to lead, your employer must offer you regular blood lead tests.

Lead in Imported Products

See more lead poisoning prevention topics and browse other related materials.