Lead Poisoning Prevention - Did you know? - EH: Minnesota Department of Health
Lead Poisoning Prevention

Did You Know?

Lead has been around a long time, and it hasn't just been used in paint...

Lead has been known for thousands of years. The use of lead has been dated to 3500 B.C.

Lead was one of the seven "Metals of the Ancients" along with gold, copper, silver, tin , iron and mercury. It is believed the use of these metals lead to civilization.

Lead Atomic Number The symbol for lead is Pb. This comes from the Latin word plumbum, which means "soft metal".

The Romans used lead to make water pipes to transfer water to public baths, pools and private houses. The men who worked on these pipes were known as plumberium, which is where we get our modern day word "plumber".

The Roman aristocracy also added lead to their wine and foods to sweeten them. This may have lead to a diminished mental capacity and an inability to reproduce in the Roman ruling class that ultimately led to the downfall of the Roman Empire. Roman Emperors


Lead may be used in candle wicks to ensure a longer, more even burn of the flame

Lead was used in black eyeliner by ancient Egyptians as beauty make-up. It was thought to help prevent eye infections.

Egyptian Gods

Japanese Geisha

Lead was used in face whitening make-up by Japanese geisha and also in some Western cultures to accentuate beauty.

Lead was used as car body filler during the 1940's - 1960's. Many custom hot rods created during this time were often referred to as "Lead sleds".

Custom Hot Rod

Gas Pump

Lead was added to gasoline since the 1920's to help stop engine "knocking" or "pinging". Leaded gasoline was a major cause of urban soils being contaminated with lead.

Lead has never been used in pencils. However, the English word "pencil" comes from the Latin word "pencillus" which was a Roman writing stylus made of...you guessed it...lead.


Updated Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 06:44AM