Lead

Inorganic lead, a malleable, blue-gray, heavy metal that occurs naturally in the Earth's crust, can cause occupational disease. Lead can be used as a pure metal, combined with another metal to form an alloy, or in the form of a chemical compound. The primary use of lead in the U.S. is for automobile lead-acid storage batteries, a type of rechargeable electric battery which uses an almost pure lead alloy. Lead-formed alloys are typically found in ammunition, pipes, cable covering, building material, solder, radiation shielding, collapsible tubes, and fishing weights. Lead is also used in ceramic glazes and as a stabilizer in plastics. 

Lead exposure occurs in most industry sectors, including construction, manufacturing (including battery manufacturing), wholesale trade, transportation, remediation, and even recreation. Construction workers are exposed to lead during the removal, renovation, or demolition of structures painted with lead pigments. Workers may also be exposed during installation, maintenance, or demolition of lead pipes and fittings, lead linings in tanks and radiation protection, leaded glass, work involving soldering, and other work involving lead metal or lead alloys. In general industry, workers come in contact with lead in solder, plumbing fixtures, rechargeable batteries, lead bullets, leaded glass, brass or bronze objects, and radiators.


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