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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Joan Adam, Secretary of Health

Sources of Lead

Lead in Paint

Lead-based paint is a common source of lead contamination. Lead paint was widely used in homes up until the 1950s and was not banned for residential use until 1978. Lead paint is still found in many older homes today.
Lead paint in poor condition contaminates the home as it falls apart or deteriorates. Lead paint chips and lead dust are created when there is:

  • Chipping, peeling, cracking, or deteriorated lead-based paint

  • Abrasion, scraping, or friction of lead-based paint

  • Disturbance of lead-based paint during maintenance, renovation, or remodeling

Lead in Dust

Lead can contaminate household dust when lead-based paint is deteriorated or disturbed. Lead dust can collect in windowsills, troughs, floors, carpets, furniture, and ventilation filters. It can also get on children's hands, toys, bottles, and pacifier. Frequent house cleaning and hand washing can help prevent children from swallowing or breathing in lead dust.

Lead in Soil

The soil around a house, garage or fence could be contaminated by lead paint or industrial pollution. Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes.

Lead in Drinking Water

Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. The only way to know whether your tap water contains lead is to have it tested.

To Learn more visit about lead in water visit: Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water | US EPA

To request sample bottles for testing of water supplies, please complete and submit this form. Fee information for the various tests is also provided. Questions can be directed to the Lab's mail room at 605-773-3368.

Lead at Work and Hobbies

Workers can bring lead home with them from their workplace. It can contaminate a child's environment. Adults exposed to lead on the job can also be lead poisoned. Workers should take extra precautions if they work in any of these jobs or worksites involving lead:

  • Abatement and cleanup of residential and commercial buildings, steel structures, or environmental sites

  • Demolition of buildings and structures built before 1978

  • Fabrication of artistic or individual products (e.g., mixing or applying leaded ceramic glaze, glasswork, and stain glass windows)

  • Manufacturing of products containing or coated with lead (e.g., metal equipment parts, batteries, bullets, circuits)

  • Melting of products containing lead (e.g., secondary smelting [scrap metal], incinerators, foundries/casting)

  • Industrial mineral processing activities, such as mining, extraction, or smelting

  • Painting or sanding on industrial equipment and steel structures (e.g., bridges and water towers)

  • Recycling materials (e.g., stripping electronics)

  • Repair, renovation, remodeling, and/or painting of residential and commercial buildings

  • Use of firearms or working at a firing range (e.g., law enforcement, military, private industry, and training)

  • Welding and cutting (small scale melting)

  • Auto repairers (car parts may contain lead)

  • Battery manufacturers (batteries contain lead)

  • Lead miners, refiners, and smelters 

Some hobbies that could introduce lead to the home include those that work with:

  • Casting or soldering (e.g., bullets, fishing weights, stained glass)

  • Mixing or applying glaze or pigments containing lead

  • Conducting home renovation, repair, remodeling, or painting (in structures built prior to 1978)

  • Reloading bullets

Lead in Folk and Traditional Medicines

Lead has been found in some traditional and folk remedies from other counties. Lead can be found in powders and tablets given for arthritis, infertility, upset stomach, menstrual cramps, colic, and other illnesses. Consuming complementary, alternative, or traditional medicines or using cosmetics or ceremonial powders that may contain lead

Health remedies from Asia that could contain lead include Daw Tway, Paylooah, Bali goli, and kandu. Health remedies used in Hispanic cultures that can contain lead include Azarcon, Alarcon, Greta, Rueda, and Maria Luisa

To learn more visit: Lead in Foods, Cosmetics, and Medicines | Sources of Lead | CDC

Lead in Spices

Some spices bought in or sent from South Asia and the country of Georgia can contain high levels of lead. Some of these spices include curry, turmeric, masala, and chili powder. Spices purchased abroad are more likely to have high lead levels than similar products sold in the United States. To reduce the risk of lead exposure, buy your spices locally

To learn more visit: Lead in Foods, Cosmetics, and Medicines | Sources of Lead | CDC

Lead in Candy

Lead has been found in some candy imported from Mexico, especially those made with tamarind or chili powder.

To learn more visit: Lead in Foods, Cosmetics, and Medicines | Sources of Lead | CDC

Lead in Toys, Jewelry, and Recalled Products

Toys made in other countries and older painted toys passed down through generations are more likely to contain lead paint. Other items that can contain lead include keys, children's jewelry, some imported plastic mini-blinds, and other imported products. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issues recalls for products that contain lead.

Regularly check the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) recalls list to ensure no toys or jewelry your child owns has been recalled due to a lead issue. Recalls | CPSC.gov

Lead in Glazed Pottery and Ceramics

Lead can be present in some antique or imported glazed ceramics, pottery, and dishware. Avoid using imported pottery, dishware, and ceramics for storing or cooking food and drinks if you don't know if it contains lead. Some imported pottery labeled lead-free may still contain lead.

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