HOW DOES LEAD AFFECT THE BODY?
Lead can get into your body if you breathe in lead dust or fumes. It can also poison you if you eat, drink, or smoke in work areas. If your hands, clothes or shoes are contaminated, you may accidentally eat lead dust or bring the dangerous substance home to your family. Lead dust on your clothes or shoes may contaminate your car and home, potentially exposing children who are especially vulnerable to lead.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF LEAD POISONING?
The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning may not appear until permanent damage to your health has occurred. If you work around lead, you should tell your doctor and your children’s doctor. If you suspect you may have lead poisoning, whether or not you have any of the following signs and symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible or call the Occupational Lead Registry for assistance.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
Irritability or nervousness
Later Signs and Symptoms
Aches or pains in stomach
HOW TO AVOID LEAD POISONING
- Do not use compressed air to remove lead dust. Your employer must provide an industrial HEPA vacuum or use of a wet cleaning method.
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke in work areas.
- Use a respirator with HEPA filters when scraping, grinding, or sanding paint.
- Always wash your hands AND face before eating, drinking, or smoking.
- Shower, wash your hair, and change into clean clothes as soon as possible.
- Store street clothes separately from your work clothes and avoid bringing work clothes home.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition can help reduce lead levels, while fasting may increase lead levels.
- If you have concerns contact the lead registry.
For further assistance or information about the lead registry, please call or write:
Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards
Occupational Lead Registry Program
Wall Experiment Station
37 Shattuck Street
Lawrence, MA 01843