Keeping your home safe from workplace lead exposure

April 11, 2018

A caution sign warning of a lead hazard. Lead is a heavy metal and potentially hazardous to human health.

Since the 1970s, the government has spearheaded and implemented many protocols that have resulted in a significant reduction of lead exposure throughout our country. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Scott Pruitt, “Lead exposure poses a significant health threat to hundreds of thousands of American children.” According to Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, many Americans are exposed to lead in their workplace and are bringing that home with them.


Workers are bringing this toxic metal home via their clothes, shoes, skin, hair and hands. This lead can infect your home and poison your family.


Common jobs with lead exposure include:

  • Painting
  • Soldering
  • Plumbing
  • Demolition
  • Bridge work
  • Ceramic work
  • Radiator repair
  • Metal production
  • Building renovation
  • Shooting range work
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Metal scrap cutting and recycling


If you work in a place where lead may be a factor, children and pregnant family members living in your house should be tested for lead. Adults with levels of lead in their blood above 30 μg/dL should be seen by a doctor. Contact your doctor, health clinic, or local health department.


To avoid bringing lead home from work, the EPA recommends the following:

  • Tell your doctor that you work with lead
  • Change out of your work clothes and shoes before going home
  • Wash your hands often and shower at the end of the work shift
  • Do not take contaminated work clothing or shoes exposed to lead home. If you must, put them in a plastic bag and wash your work clothes separately.


No blood lead level is safe for children, as it harms the brain, nervous system, blood, and kidneys. Low levels may cause learning and behavioral problems in children under age six, while some harmful effects of lead are permanent.


According to the EPA, employers must follow these requirements to stop take-home lead exposure:

  • Control lead dust and fumes in the workplace
  • Provide workers a place to wash hands and shower and change into clean clothes
  • Test workplace air for lead and blood lead levels in workers
  • Provide protective work clothing and equipment for workers
  • Tell workers if their work involves lead and train them on lead safety
  • Keep work clothes away from street clothes


OSHA has regulations to protect workers from lead exposure in both general industry (1910.1025) and construction (1926.62).


For more information on protecting your workers and your family members from workplace toxins, contact Vanguard Resources.