Adult Lead Poisoning Prevention

Adults can experience lead poisoning too. Lead can be harmful to all adults even if they don't feel sick. Levels of lead once thought harmless are now shown to be toxic. Studies have shown lead exposure can:

  • Decrease brain function.
  • Decrease kidney function.
  • Raise blood pressure and your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Increase your chances of having a miscarriage and harm your baby’s development before birth. Lead can be particularly harmful to pregnant people and their developing fetuses. It can damage the brain, kidneys, nerves, and other parts of the body. It can make it harder to get pregnant, and cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

Adults can be exposed to lead dust or lead fumes during renovation or remodeling activities in older homes with lead-based paint. They can also be exposed through certain jobs or hobbies. Lead dust can also be brought into your home on your work clothes and equipment. It can get in your car, and on furniture, floors, and carpets. This is called take-home lead. It can harm anyone who comes in contact with it.

Why do health care providers and New York State call attention to adult lead poisoning?

The New York State Network of Occupational Health Clinics provides medical and educational services for workers exposed to workplace hazards. If you want to talk to a health care provider about lead exposure at work, contact a health clinic in your area. Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant? If so, and you are concerned about lead exposures, ask your health care provider about a blood lead test.