Lead Overview

What is Lead?

Lead, a heavy metal, has the atomic number of 82. It is considered very malleable and can be useful for many things such as fishing, hunting and even pipe solder or in metal reparation. However, when found in drinking water or in interior household paint, it can cause serious health hazards.

Routes of exposure to lead include air, water, soil, food and consumer products. One of the largest threats of lead toxicity to children in the US, according to researchers, is through lead based paint.

Lead can also be found in drinking water from lead pipe solder or natural exposure from a well. In drinking water any value over 15ug/l is considered unsatisfactory.

According to the Federal definition of lead based paint before 1978, any paint containing over 5,000mg/kg of lead is considered unacceptable. However, each state may have different acceptable levels and anyone with concern should check with his or her local official.

Lead found in water or paint can be tested by bringing a sample to Northeast Laboratory Services (NEL) where we can perform a full detailed analysis.

When your paint or drinking water results indicate high levels of lead you may want to seek professional advice from a certified air and/or water remediation company or call Maine State Toxicology at (866) 292-3474.