Lead in the Workplace

Even childhood lead poisonings may result when parents get lead dust on their
clothes at work and carry it into their cars, inadvertently exposing their

Workers can be exposed to lead in the workplace by inhaling fumes and dusts, or
by accidentally ingesting it from lead-contaminated hands, food, drinks,
cosmetics, tobacco products, and clothing. Workers can take lead home on their
clothes, skin, hair, tools, and in their vehicles, potentially exposing their
families to harmful health effects.

In the past the main sources of lead exposure outside the glass-industry were
mainly lead paint and emissions from cars using leaded gasoline.

Today lead is used in many of the following products:

  • batteries

  • lead shielding for x-rays

  • crystal

  • ceramics and pottery glazes

  • stained glass

  • lead solder - used in water pipes in older homes, electronics, radiator shops

  • cosmetics - many of the pigments and other substances used in cosmetics contain lead

  • pesticides (lead arsenate)

  • ammunition

  • lead weights and tools

  • electroplating

  • glass in computer monitors

Occupations with lead exposure risks include:

  • Cable splicing

  • Construction

  • Manufacturing of ammunition, ceramics, electrical components, pottery and lead batteries

  • Stained glass

  • Mining

  • Painting

  • Radiator repair

  • Recovery of gold and silver

  • Repair and reclamation of lead batteries

  • Smelting

  • Welding

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety