Although lead poisoning can sometimes result from a single large dose of lead, it is usually caused by months or years of exposure to small amounts of lead. People usually don't know when they are being exposed.
Nearly everyone has some lead in his or her body.
You probably can't avoid it completely. But there are many ways you can reduce your exposure. Learn how to prevent poisoning from:
Lead in your home. Steps may include having your home tested, dealing with any lead that's found, and cleaning your home regularly.
Lead in your drinking water. Some simple tips for drinking and cooking with water from the tap can help limit your exposure to lead. Water can also be tested for lead.
Lead in the food you eat. How you store, prepare, and serve food can affect its lead levels. Don't prepare, serve, or store food or drinks in ceramic pottery or crystal glasses unless you are sure they are lead-free. And a healthy, balanced diet that includes enough iron can help reduce how much lead your body absorbs. This is especially important for children.
Lead involved in your work and hobbies. Some people have jobs or hobbies that expose them to more lead than is typical. If you do this kind of work, you may need to take special steps to reduce your risk of lead poisoning. The same steps can help you avoid bringing lead into your home.
If you have concerns about lead exposure, be sure to talk to your doctor. A simple blood test can find out the amount of lead in your blood.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology