Lead - Safety
Lead is used in building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, and is part of solder, pewter, fusible alloys and radiation shields. Lead has the highest atomic number of all stable elements, although the next element, bismuth, has a half-life so long (longer than the estimated age of the universe) it can be considered stable. Like mercury, another heavy metals, lead is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bone over time. Lead poisoning was documented in ancient Rome, Greece, and China.
Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders. Because of its low reactivity and solubility, lead poisoning usually only occurs in cases when the lead is dispersed, like when sanding lead based paint, or long term exposure in the case of pewter tableware. Long term exposure to lead or its salts (especially soluble salts or the strong oxidant PbO2) can cause nephropathy, and colic-like abdominal pains. The effects of lead are the same whether it enters the body through breathing or swallowing. Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure of adults can result in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system. It may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists, or ankles. Lead exposure also causes small increases in blood pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people and can cause anemia. Exposure to high lead levels can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death. In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage. Highlevel exposure in men can damage the organs responsible for sperm production.
More specific information on regulation for occupational uses can be found at the Federal OSHA site. This link will take you to Appendix A (Substance data sheet for occupational exposure to lead) & Appendix B (Employee standard summary). REVIEW OF THESE APPENDICES ARE REQUIRED OF PERSONNEL THAT UTILIZE MATERIALS CONTAINING LEAD (Pb) .
For training on the subject of (Pb) Lead please follow this link to the ESAMS application.