Lead in Jobs, Hobbies, or Other Activities

Some adults work in industries or have hobbies that expose them to lead. These adults may bring lead home with them and expose their families to lead without knowing. This dust can be tracked onto carpets, floors, furniture, and other surfaces that a child may touch.

How you or your child may be exposed

Below is a list of jobs and hobbies or other activities that may involve exposure to lead hazards.

Man holding blue hard hat with other workers in the background.

Jobs that may involve exposure to lead hazards

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

Hobbies that may involve exposure to lead hazards

  • 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)
  • Shooting firearms during target practice
  • Drinking home-distilled liquids (e.g., moonshine)
  • Consuming complementary, alternative, or traditional medicines or using cosmetics or ceremonial powders that may contain lead

Other activities that may involve exposure to lead hazards

  • Pica (eating of non-food items containing lead)
  • Having retained bullets from gunshot wounds

Get your child tested for lead exposure

If you think that you or your child has been exposed to lead from your job or hobbies, then contact your health care provider. Most children and adults who are exposed to lead have no symptoms. The only way to tell if you or your child has been exposed is with a blood lead test. Your health care provider can help you decide whether a blood lead test is needed and can also recommend appropriate follow-up actions if you or your child has been exposed. As levels of lead in the blood increase, adverse effects from lead may also increase.

Additional Resources

National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) – information on occupational exposure to lead.