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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Lead Exposure from Battery Recycling

By November 30, 2012

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Most parents are well aware of the devastating effects that exposure to lead can have on children, as kids were once exposed to high levels of lead in paint and gasoline.

Even as lead has long been removed from both lead and gasoline, kids can continue to be exposed to lead paint in older homes and from playing in soil that has been contaminated from past use of leaded gasoline and exterior lead-based house paint. Unfortunately, as we work to get rid of those older hazards, parents should continue to watch out for new sources of lead, including imported toys, candies, and cookware that might be contaminated with lead.

A new report from the CDC, "Take-Home Lead Exposure Among Children with Relatives Employed at a Battery Recycling Facility -- Puerto Rico, 2011," highlights an increasingly common source of lead exposure. It found that 16% of the employees at a lead recycling facility had children with elevated lead levels, most likely because of lead dust brought home by family members who worked at the facilities.

As lead recycling continues to increase, more should be done to make sure these workers and their children don't develop lead poisoning, especially as simple things, like showers for workers, clean changing areas, and shoe washes, can go a long way towards keep lead dust from traveling into worker's cars and homes.

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