ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Lead
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Lead

CAS ID #: 7439-92-1

Affected Organ Systems: Cardiovascular (Heart and Blood Vessels), Developmental (effects during periods when organs are developing) , Gastrointestinal (Digestive), Hematological (Blood Forming), Musculoskeletal (Muscles and Skeleton), Neurological (Nervous System), Ocular (Eyes), Renal (Urinary System or Kidneys), Reproductive (Producing Children)

Cancer Effects: Reasonably Anticipated to be a Human Carcinogen

Chemical Classification: Inorganic substances

Summary: Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts in the earth's crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment. Much of it comes from human activities including burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing. Lead has many different uses. It is used in the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), and devices to shield X-rays. Because of health concerns, lead from gasoline, paints and ceramic products, caulking, and pipe solder has been dramatically reduced in recent years.

*CDC has updated its recommendations on children’s blood lead levels. Experts now use an upper reference level value of 97.5% of the population distribution for children’s blood lead. In 2012-2015 that value is 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) to identify children with blood lead levels that are much higher than most children’s levels. The information on this page refers to CDC’s previous “blood lead level of concern” of 10 µg/dL. This information will be updated in future ToxProfile and ToxFAQ editions. To learn more about CDC’s updated recommendations on children’s blood lead levels, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/blood_lead_levels.htm.

Community Members 

Community Members
  • ToxFAQs

    Fact sheet that answers the most frequently asked questions about a contaminant and its health effects.

  • Public Health Statement

    Summary about a hazardous substance taken from Chapter One of its respective ATSDR Toxicological Profile.

  • National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals

    Provides an ongoing assessment of the exposure of the U.S. population to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring.

  • ATSDR El Dorado Hills Site Information

    El Dorado Hills, California, is about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento in El Dorado County. Naturally occurring asbestos has been identified in rocks and soil in the vicinity of El Dorado Hills. Sampling conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2004 found that people taking part in typical outdoor recreational activities could breathe in high levels of asbestos relative to when no dust- or soil-disturbing activities take place. Community members asked the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) what this finding meant to their health and what they should do to protect their health.

  • ATSDR Tar Creek Site Information

    The Tar Creek Superfund Site is located in Northeastern Oklahoma (Ottawa County), near the Oklahoma-Kansas state line. The site comprises a 40-square mile area and includes the communities of Picher, Cardin, Hockerville, Quapaw, North Miami, and Commerce. From the early 1900s through the late 1970s, Northeastern Oklahoma was mined extensively for lead and zinc ore. The milling process for these materials produced waste mine tailings, known locally as "chat." Over the years, the mining companies disposed of the chat by collecting it into large aboveground piles, and by dumping it into flotation or tailing ponds.

  • Corpus Christi

    Between 1995 and 2008, private citizens petitioned ATSDR about health concerns related to chemicals in the city's air, water, and soil. The petitions focused on

    - Chemicals released to soil from a former smelter;
    - Chemicals released to air, soil, and water from two landfills;
    - Chemicals released to air from refineries and petrochemical companies; and,
    - Whether high birth-defect rates in the Corpus Christi area were in any way related to activities at area industrial sites, or to releases from those sites.

  • Midlothian

    ATSDR and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) are conducting an extensive review of environmental health concerns raised by the community members in Midlothian, Texas to determine if chemical releases from local industries could or have affected the health of persons and animals in the area.

  • Emergency Responders 

    Emergency Responders
  • Medical Management Guidelines (MMG) for Acute Chemical Exposure

    Medical Management Guideline (MMG) for Acute Chemical Exposure Publication intended to aid emergency department physicians and other emergency healthcare professionals who manage acute exposures.

  • Toxicological and Health Professionals 

    Toxicological and Health Professionals
  • Toxicological Profile

    Succinctly characterizes the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for a hazardous substance.

  • ToxGuide (PDF, 79KB*)

    Quick reference guide providing information such as chemical and physical properties, sources of exposure, routes of exposure, minimal risk levels, children's health, and health effects for a substance.

  • Priority List of Hazardous Substances

    Prioritization of substances based on a combination of their frequency, toxicity, and potential for human exposure at National Priorities List (NPL) sites.

  • Interaction Profiles

    Succinctly characterizes the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for mixtures of hazardous substances.

  • Medical Education and Training 

    Medical Education and Training
  • Case Study in Environmental Medicine (CSEM)

    Self-instructional publication designed to increase primary care provider's knowledge of a hazardous substance in the environment and to aid in the evaluation of potentially exposed patients.

  • Grand Rounds in Environmental Medicine

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