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Preventing Lead Poisoning - Topic Overview

Although lead poisoning can sometimes result from a single large dose of lead, it is usually caused by months or years of exposure to small amounts of lead. People usually don't know when they are being exposed.

Nearly everyone has some lead in his or her body. You probably can't avoid it completely. But there are many ways you can reduce your exposure. Learn how to prevent poisoning from:

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  • Lead in your home. Steps may include having your home tested, dealing with any lead that's found, and cleaning your home regularly.
  • Lead in your drinking water. Some simple tips for drinking and cooking with water from the tap can help limit your exposure to lead. Water can also be tested for lead.
  • Lead in the food you eat. How you store, prepare, and serve food can affect its lead levels. And a healthy, balanced diet that includes enough iron can help reduce how much lead your body absorbs. This is especially important for children.
  • Lead involved in your work and hobbies. Some people have jobs or hobbies that expose them to more lead than is typical. If you do this kind of work, you may need to take special steps to reduce your risk of lead poisoning. The same steps can help you avoid bringing lead into your home.

If you have concerns about lead exposure, be sure to talk to your doctor. A simple blood test can find out the amount of lead in your blood.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 05, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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