Key Points

Key Points

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. In adults, lead exposure is associated with miscarriage, high blood pressure, and premature death.

4. 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

5. 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.