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The LEAD Group Inc
The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
Working to eliminate lead poisoning globally and to protect the
environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
ABN 25 819 463 114
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PDF of this file

The LEAD Group Inc

Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet

Dangers of lead for roofers

Do you work with lead

Do you handle lead flashing

Do you know how much lead is in your blood


Exposure to lead: Health damage can be permanent

  • Lead can have many subtle, but serious, long term health effects

  • Lead is a cumulative poison. When inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin, it is toxic to virtually every human organ

  • From a single exposure, lead is quickly distributed and stored through the body where it remains a long term source of internal exposure

  • Exposure to lead can have a broad range of health effects depending on the amount of lead present and the length of exposure. The greater the exposure, the greater the impact on health

Protect yourself when working with lead

Wear protective work clothing such as respirator, safety glasses and gloves

  • Never eat, drink, or smoke in the work area

  • Always practice a high standard of personal hygiene. Wash your hands and face and scrub your nails with soap and water before eating or drinking and before leaving work or smoking

  • Food, cigarettes and tobacco can easily become contaminated when you handle lead

  • Lead can be absorbed through sweat pores in the skin

  • Shower and change into clean clothes and shoes at work before you go home

  • Keep dirty work clothes and shoes in a separate bag from your clean street clothes

  • If the above recommended hygiene is not possible, purchase hand wipes for use prior to eating, drinking or smoking and be sure to shower as soon as you get home and wash your work clothes in a separate load from your non-work clothes and the rest of the family’s clothes

If you’ve been exposed to lead, ask your doctor to test your blood for lead

There’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ level of lead in the blood…

  • A high lead blood level is currently defined as more than 10 micrograms of lead per decilitre of blood (10 µg/dL) and it is the Australian public health goal for all Australians to have a blood lead level below 10 µg/dL. However, an increased risk of early death from heart attack or stroke has been found for adults with blood levels as low as 2 µg/dL

  • Even if you have no symptoms, damage to your health can be occurring that may not show up until many years later. If you are working with lead, it is very important that you find out how much lead is in your blood.

If you have a high blood lead level, you may or may not have some of these symptoms. Don’t look for symptoms before having a blood lead test!

  • Hypertension

  • Slow reaction time

  • Irritability

  • Stomach pains

  • Hearing loss

  • Headaches

  • Constipation

  • Anaemia

  • Balance problems

  • Tiredness

  • Nausea

  • Weight loss

What health damage can occur with continued exposure?

Studies have shown that even low levels of lead in adults can:

  • Increase your blood pressure — which increases your risk of early death from heart attack or stroke

  • Decrease your brain function — making it more difficult to think, learn, and remember, especially as you age

  • Decrease your kidney function — making it more difficult to expel toxic waste products

  • Increase the risk of low sperm count, low sperm motility and impotence, and thus infertility, as well as minor genetic changes in sperm, and thus birth defects in the children of male lead workers

  • If you are a woman, it can harm the physical and mental development of your baby before it’s born and increase the chances of you having a miscarriage

Wherever possible, choose lead-free alternative products
to protect your health, your family and the environment

Need further information?

Safe Work Australia – phone 02 6121 5317. National Code of Practice for the Control and Safe Use of Inorganic Lead at Work [NOHSC:2015(1994)]

WorkCover NSW, phone 131050. Code of Practice for the Control of Hazardous Substances (2006)

Workers Health Centre, Granville NSW 02 9749 7666

WorkCover Queensland 1300 362 128.

WorkSafe Victoria 1800 136 089.

WorkSafe Western Australia 1300 307 877.

Workplace Standards Tasmania 1300366322.

Northern Territory WorkSafe 1800 019 115.

WorkSafe ACT 02) 6207 3000.

The LEAD Group (charity which runs a lead information and referral service) FREECALL 1800 626 086

Health and Safety Fact Sheet Information Source: The LEAD Group Inc.’s Global Lead Advice & Support Service (GLASS)

PDF of this file

The LEAD Group Inc. Fact Sheet Index

NSW Lead Reference Centre and NSW Government Publications On this site

  1. About the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

  2. Main Sources of Lead

  3. How Would You Know If You or Your Child Was lead poisoned?

  4. Lead aware housekeeping

  5. Ceiling dust & lead poisoning

  6. Is your yard lead safe?

  7. Health Impacts of lead poisoning

  8. Rotary Questionnaire

  9. Lead poisoned Pets and Your Family

  10. Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire

  11. Is Your Child Safe From Lead? - What Can You Do About Lead?

  12. Lead in Drinking Water in Australia

  13. Have We Really Resolved The Lead Issue?

  14. The Importance of the Availability of "Spot Tests" for Lead in Paint

  15. Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy

  16. Breastfeeding and Lead

  17. Lead in breast milk

  18. Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

  19. Renting and Lead

  20. What to do if you have too much lead in your tank water

  21. Lead Contamination in Stormwater

  22. Contamination At Shooting Ranges

  23. Banned: Leaded Wick Candles

  24. Lead, Ageing and Death

  25. Metal miniatures: How to minimise the risks of lead poisoning and contamination

  26. 7 Point Plan for the MANAGEMENT OF LEAD by Australian parents and carers

  27. Countries where Leaded Petrol is Possibly Still Sold for Road Use, As at 17th June 2011

  28. Lead Poisoning And The Brain - Cognitive Deficits And Mental Illness

  29. Facts and Firsts of Lead

  30. Lead mining royalties by state and territory

  31. Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group

  32. Preventative Strategies of The LEAD Group

  33. What do Doctors need to do about Lead?

  34. A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

  35. Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works

  36. Glass Web & Service-Users, Experts & Volunteers, by Country; Countries with Leaded Petrol for Road Use & Worst Pollution

  37. Lead in ceiling dust

  38. Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely

  39. Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here??

  40. Broken Hill lead miners factsheet 1893 with Note 20081015

  41. Helping a Doctor Help 35,000 Lead-Poisoned People Around the Lead Smelter at La Oroya in Peru
    Ayuda a un doctor que ayuda 35,000 personas envenenadas por plomo alrededor de la fundidora de plomo en la Oroya-Peru

  42. Fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

  43. Iron Nutrition & Lead Toxicity
    Informe de Acciones – Hierro y Plomo en la Nutrición

  44. Sanitarium-Are You getting Enough Iron

  45. Do-It-Yourself-Lead-Safe-Test-Kits-flyer

  46. Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  47. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to both adults and children

  48. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There A Link?

  49. In CHINA - Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  50. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you take advantage of the Australian government's Energy Efficient Homes Package: Insulation Program

  51. Alperstein et al Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals 1994

  52. Ceiling Dust WorkCover Guide Lee Schreiber Final Nov 1999

  53. What can I do about climate change AND lead?

  54. The Need for Expert Clinical Assessments in Diagnosis Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  55. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you have insulation installed

  56. Thirty Thought-Starters on Ceiling Void Dust in Homes

  57. Pectin: Panacea for both lead poisoning and lead contamination

  58. Nutrients that reduce lead poisoning June 2010

  59. Lead poisoning and menopause

  60. Fact sheet For Schoolkids From Professor Knowlead About Lead

  61. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia

  62. Mencegah kontak dengan timbal di tempat kerja di Indonesia

  63. How to Protect Your Family from Lead in Indonesia

  64. Bagaimana melindungi keluargamu dari timbal di Indonesia

  65. Cigarette Smoking & Lead Toxicity
     صحيفة معلومات: التدخين والتسمم بالرصاص

  66. Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For Occupational Lead Exposure

  67. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to children

  68. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to adults

  69. Biosolids used as fertilizer in China and other countries

  70. What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?

  71. Alcohol’s link to higher lead and iron levels

  72. USA Case Definition of Adult (including Occupational) & Child Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLL)

  73. Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children - A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention

  74. Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet Dangers of lead for roofers

  75. Let’s Make Leaded Petrol History - Let’s Make Leaded Gasoline History

  76. Lead, Your Health & the Environment. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese 

  77. Lead Safe Housekeeping

  78. Old Lead Paint

  79. Working safely with lead

  80. A Renovator's Guide To The Dangers Of Lead (Brochure 30 pages)

  81. A Guide For Health Care Professionals (Brochure 34 pages)

  82. A Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead (Brochure 20 pages)

  83. Lead Hazard Management In Children's Services (Brochure 15 pages)

  84. A Guide To Dealing With Soil That Might Be Lead-Contaminated

  85. Exposure Assessment: Lead Neurotoxicity - Is the Center for Disease Control's goal to reduce lead below 10 µg/dl blood in all children younger than 72 months by 2010, good enough?

About Us | bell system lead poisoning | Contact Us | Council LEAD Project | egroups | Library - Fact Sheets | Home Page | Media Releases
| Q & A | Referral lists | Reports | Site Map | Slide Shows - Films | Subscription | Useful Links |  Search this Site

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 Last Updated 02 May 2014
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PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014