What is Lead?
Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed to air. Lead has a shiny chrome-silver luster when it is melted into a liquid. Lead is a naturally occurring metal found in the earths crust. Lead can be found everywhere, much because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.
What are the risks of Lead?
Lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure to which can produce a wide range of adverse health effects. Lead and lead compounds are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens based on evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals. In addition to this, lead can increase blood pressure and cause fertility problems, nerve disorders, muscle and joint pain, irritability, and memory or concentration problems.
Where can Lead be found and why is it present?
Because of its abundance, low cost, and physical properties, lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products. Lead can be found in a large number of consumer products, including the paints/coatings, toys, bags, belts, footwear etc.
What legislation relates to Lead?
Lead is covered in a large number of EU and International legislations including, REACH, California Proposition 65, the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH), CPSIA, Toy Directives and RoHS.
What are the limits for Lead?
Under REACH: 0.1% w/w
Under California Proposition 65:
- 90ppm for paint/surface coatings
- 200ppm for PVC
- 300 ppm for leather
- 300 ppm for all other components