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  QUESTION: Handling stained glass. 26 Dec 2003, British Columbia Canada

My sister brought over beautiful leaded stained glass windows to my home for gifts for my daughter and I . My daughter has a newborn and my sister did say to wash our hands before touching the baby. I am concerned though because many family members held the stained glass & touched or held our new baby throughout the night. I can't be sure everyone took the same precautions. The next day it really concerned me. If my daughter carried the lead glass window, can lead be absorbed through her skin and into her milk supply to the baby ? Does just washing hands get rid of the danger ?

ANSWER: 29 Dec 2003

Dear Sita,

Washing hands is sufficient after handling stained glass and there is very little chance of any lead being absorbed through dry skin while handling stained glass. The breasts form an excellent filter for the lead in your daughter's blood - only about 5% at the most of what is in her blood will reach your grandchild through the breast milk. Your daughter can always ask the doctor for a blood lead test if there is any doubt about her lead exposure. Relatives handling the baby after handling the stained glass would form a very very minor risk of lead exposure for the baby. I hope this alleviates your concern.

Best wishes for the festive season. Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

Update 2010 See: Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

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