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Where is Lead Commonly Found?

Lead in Paint

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most widespread and hazardous sources of lead exposure for young children in the United States. Homes built in the U.S. before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead paint chips and dust.

Some common surfaces covered with lead-based paint:

  • Windows
  • Stairways
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Floors
  • Antique furniture
  • Porches

Lead in Soil

Deposits from years of leaded gasoline use and industrial sources may also contaminate soil. Lead-contaminated soil parti-cles can also be brought inside as lead dust or on shoes, clothing, or pets.

Areas to consider:

  • Bare soil around foundation of home
  • Sandboxes
  • Vegetable garden
  • Artificial turf
  • Playground

Lead in Drinking Water

The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and plumbing fixtures. Certain pipes that carry drinking water from the water source to the home may contain lead. Household plumbing fixtures, welding solder, and pipe fittings made prior to 1986 may also contain lead.

In 2017, the General Assembly passed Public Act 99-0922. This requires schools and day cares to sample for lead contami-nation in water that were constructed on or before January 1, 2000.

Lead in Consumer Products

Lead can be found in some consumer products made in other countries and then imported into the U.S. or in collectible items no longer produced in the U.S. but passed down through the generations. Lead may be found in the paint on toys, which was banned in the U.S., but is still widely used in other countries. Lead may also be found on older toys made in the U.S. before the ban. Make sure children do not have access to toys, jewelry, or other items that may contain lead. 

Items to consider that could contain lead:

  • Toys (painted, plastic, or metal)
  • China dishware
  • Jewelry
  • Leaded crystal
  • Charms
  • Glazed pottery

Lead in Foods, Cosmetics, and Medicines

Lead is sometimes found in foods, candies, spices, cosmetics, and traditional medicines or ceremonial powders.

Commonly identified items that may contain lead:


  • Some candies (containing chili powder and Tamarind)
  • Chapulines (grasshopper snacks)


  • Curry powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Tumeric
  • Paprika

Cosmetics/ceremonial powders

  • Kajal
  • Kohl
  • Surma
  • Kumkum
  • Sindoor

Home remedies

  • Azarcon
  • Paylooah
  • Greta
  • Ghasard
  • Ayurvedic remedies

Lead in Foods, Cosmetics, and Medicines

Parents may bring lead into the home from certain jobs or hobbies ("take home exposure") such as:

  • Stained glass
  • Casting ammunition
  • Lead industry
  • Game meat
  • Recycling material
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Valve and pipefitting
  • Bridge, tunnel, and elevated highway construction
  • Refinishing furniture with finishes containing lead
  • Pottery making
  • Hazardous waste
  • Jewelry making
  • Mining
  • Brass or copper foundry
  • Automotive repair
  • Operating industrial machinery or equipment
  • Target shooting
  • Radiator repair
  • Welding
  • Firing range
  • Abatement/cleanup of buildings
  • Chemical preparation
  • Battery manufacturer or repair