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Lead is a health hazard. It is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioural problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Health effects include significant developmental problems in children; premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth in babies of exposed pregnant women; and symptoms such as cramps, nausea, anaemia and headaches in adults. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.

Research suggests that the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are:

  • deteriorating lead-based paint,
  • lead contaminated dust, and
  • lead contaminated residential soil.

Lead in paint can be dangerous if paint dust, flakes or fumes are swallowed or breathed in. Young children are at risk. They absorb the lead when they touch contaminated dust or soil and then put their fingers or toys in their mouths. Children are still growing and they can absorb up to half the lead they swallow.

Small amounts of lead can gradually build up in the body to cause health problems if exposure continues. Exposure to lead can affect the health of children, unborn babies and adults.

Who to Contact

  • Council’s Environmental Health Services (02) 6670 2400.

Further Information

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