How can I be exposed to lead?

The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978.

Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.

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1. What is lead?
2. How can I be exposed to lead?
3. What are the risks of lead exposure?
4. How does lead get into my drinking water?
5. Is my home at risk for lead plumbing?
6. I’m concerned my home may have lead plumbing. How can I find out?
7. Will my water utility replace my lead service line?