You won’t find too many positive comments about lead, no matter how long you look. Lead was used in many different products and processes, but it is a proven toxin and has the potential to cause serious health problems if exposure levels are high enough. Some of the health issues associated with prolonged lead exposure are reduced kidney function, developmental issues in children, and neurological effects like memory loss, seizures and more. Much has been written about lead being found in the home, but it may also be present in the workplace, depending on the age and type of the business.
Here are five places you may end up finding lead in your facility.
1) The Pipes
Older pipes that have undergone some degree of corrosion or been soldered with lead solder might be a hiding place for lead. The main problem with this is that the lead can also find its way into the drinking water. And once lead is in the water, it isn’t leaving. You can’t boil the lead out or get it out in any other way. The only thing you can really do is have the pipes addressed by experts in lead abatement and deal with the problem that way.
2) The Paint
Lead paint was used in homes built prior to 1978, but it was also used in commercial buildings built before that year. Older lead paint has the potential to turn into dust or paint chips that can be stirred up into the air and inhaled by the people in the building. Toxicity from lead paint can cause serious health problems and should be eliminated immediately upon discovering there may be lead paint still on the premises.
3) The Products
Depending on the type of business or activity that takes place in the facility, lead may be present in the actual products that are manufactured or used. Some of these include:
- Materials used by construction workers
- Car parts at auto repair shops
- Battery manufacturing facilities
- Ceramics manufacturers
- Bullet manufacturers
- Plastic manufacturers
- Plumbers and pipe fitters
- Lead smelters
Lead fumes are another dangerous way to be exposed to lead, and they may be present in situations where metal is being heated up or soldered. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to detect lead fumes in any way, so try and be wary of any situation (per the above list of trades where there is an increased opportunity to be exposed to lead fumes and ensure you are properly protected if you are in or near that environment or unfortunately the only way you’ll know is if your health is affected.
Lead dust has the potential to settle in ductwork, clothing, food, water and in a lot of other places in your facility. Some experts believe that lead dust can be absorbed into your skin, which would be a particularly dangerous way to be exposed. If you work anywhere that processes lead in any way, or have reason to believe lead dust could be an issue, you'll want to call in the experts to confirm your suspicions.
Since the risks that come with exposure to lead are high, you need a professional to completely eradicate the problem.