Camil USA a leader in air filtration educates on How to Protect Yourself From the Harm of Lead Dust through this article.
Though most people envision lead poisoning as resulting from lead paint in old houses, lead poisoning can actually happen in a variety of places. This is due to lead dust, which can occur during the renovation of a house, at a firing range, or in other circumstances. Lead dust is the leading cause of lead poisoning in the most at-risk groups. How can you protect yourself from lead dust?
What Are The Sources of Lead Dust
Lead dust is particles of lead that comes from the breakdown of lead-based objects. Sources of lead dust include lead paint found in houses, lead-based ammunition in shooting ranges, and lead pipes.
“Whenever a lead is disturbed, such as when lead paint rubs together or lead ammunition splinters apart, lead dust is kicked into the air. Lead dust can be tiny, 0.1 to 0.7 µm across. At this size, the lead particles can easily penetrate the lungs and bloodstream,” says Charlie Seyffer, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials at Camfil. “Even those who have not been directly exposed to the source of the lead can become sick with lead poisoning, as employees of firing ranges can easily carry lead residue home as it sticks to clothes, skin, and work gear.” (1)
Health Effects of Lead Dust Exposure
Lead can accumulate in the body over time and can impact almost every system and organ within a person’s body. The health effects of lead dust exposure are particularly pronounced in children and pregnant women, though lead can be harmful to anyone exposed to it.
Among normal healthy adults, lead exposure can create health conditions such as impaired kidney function, cardiovascular issues like hypertension and increased blood pressure, as well as reproductive issues.
Pregnant women are at special risk from exposure to lead. Lead is typically pushed out of the bones and taints maternal calcium which is used to form the skeletal structure of the fetus. Lead can also cross through the placental barrier damaging the development of the fetus directly.
“Children six years of age and younger are particularly susceptible to lead exposure. The growing bodies of children absorb much more lead than adults do relative to their body size, and their developing nervous systems are more impacted by the effects of lead exposure,” says Seyffer. “Lead exposure in young children can cause developmental problems such as behavioral and cognitive issues, lowered IQ, impaired growth, anemia, and hearing trouble.” (2)
Protecting Yourself From the Harm of Lead Dust
Protecting yourself from the harm of lead dust starts at home and extends to other areas like the workplace and firing ranges. No matter where you are, protecting yourself from lead dust involves taking steps to limit exposure such as ensuring proper sanitization and proper ventilation.
At home, dusty surfaces and walls should be maintained and wipe down with damp cloths to remove potential lead dust. Your family should be sure to wash their hands after touching dusty surfaces, before eating, and before going to bed. If your house has paint that is lead-based, inspect the paint regularly for any peeling and fix the issue promptly. Avoid sanding down peeling paint, as this typically generates lead dust particles.
If you enjoy the sport of hunting and shooting, when you are finished, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and cold water. D-lead wipes are products which are specifically formulated to remove lead off of hands and other surfaces, so you should keep some with you in your range bag. Change your clothes as soon as you get home, as this will minimize the exposure your family has to lead residue.
Lead dust is a stealth killer, and it is incredibly important to understand the harm of lead dust and to take measures to protect yourself from lead dust.
Purchase Camfil HEPA air purifiers or Camil HEPA air filters to protect yourself from the harm of lead dust, contact Camfil immediately. Don’t wait, as any and all lead exposure is unsafe. For firing range design guidance, see Camfil’s publication Indoor Firing Ranges, Design, Ventilation & Air Filtration.
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