Where Lead Is Found
Lead in Paint
Lead-based paint is the most common source of lead poisoning in children. Lead can be found in paint that is on the inside and outside of older homes and buildings. Paint inside home can wear down and mix with household dust and dirt. It can then get on toys and fingers, which children put in their mouths.
Lead in Soil
Almost all lead in soil come from lead-based paint chips flaking from homes, factory pollution, and from the use of leaded gasoline. Over time lead builds up in the soil. Lead levels in soil are usually higher in cities, near roadways and industries that use lead, and next to homes where crumbling lead paint has fallen into the soil.
Lead in Water
The Environmental Protection Agency established the Lead and Copper Rule to protect public health and reduce exposure to lead and copper in drinking water. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead and galvanized steel pipes and brass or bronze faucets and fixtures. Water service lines are the pipes and joints that connect the water main under the street to the plumbing in your home. Service lines that contain lead are called lead service lines. California public water utilities are replacing the lead service lines they own over the next 10 years. Water utilities are not responsible for replacing private service lines and plumbing fixtures owned by the homeowner or customers served by private wells. For more information about lead service line replacement in California or for tips to keep your family safe, please visit
the CDPH's Lead Line Service Replacement page.
Lead on the Job
Lead is found in certain workplaces. Painters and contractors who work in homes built before 1978 may disturb old paint and get the dust on themselves. Lead is used at places that make or recycle batteries, repair radiators, and at lead smelters. You cannot see lead dust, but you can take it home from your job on your hands, face, and clothes. Lead dust can get in your car, on your furniture, and in your carpet. Your child can swallow this lead dust and be poisoned.
Lead in Home Remedies & Cosmetics
Lead is in some home remedies and cosmetics. These include: Azarcon, Greta, Pay~loo~ah, Ghasard, Bala Goli, Kandu, Kohl, Surma, and Kajal. Some of these are almost 100% lead.
Lead in Dishes & Glassware
Lead may be in the paint or glazes of ceramic dishes or pottery. Lead crystal often contains high levels of lead. Lead can leach into food and drinks. Be careful with the type of china, pottery, or glassware you buy if you plan to use it everyday. Store food or drinks only in lead-safe containers.
Candies Imported From Mexico
Lead has been found in some candies imported from Mexico. Candy ingredients such as chili powder and tamarind may be a source of lead. Lead has been found in the wrappers of some imported candies. The ink of these plastic or paper wrappers may contain lead that leaches into the candy.
People selling these candies may not know if the candy contains lead. You cannot tell by looking at or tasting a candy if it contains lead. Eating even small amounts of lead can be harmful. There is no safe blood lead level. Lead poisoning from candies can cause illness.