• Lead is an element found in the earth’s crust. It is released into the environment by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.
• In children, lead exposure is associated with stunted growth, behavioural problems and diminished intellectual abilities; there is no safe level of lead exposure for children.
• In adults, lead exposure is associated with miscarriage, high blood pressure, and premature death.
• Lead exposure has declined in Canadians since the 1960s, but our blood lead levels are still 10 to 100 times higher than those of our pre-industrial ancestors
• Lead exposure from gasoline and paint, the two most important sources of lead, has declined in Canada, but Canadians are still at risk of exposure from:
- • Contact with lead-based paint in older homes, especially during renovation.
- • Drinking water from lead pipes or pipes soldered with lead.
- • Eating food grown in lead-contaminated soil.
- • Breathing air contaminated by industrial emissions containing lead.
- • Using consumer products containing lead.