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Frequent Questions from the General Public


How do I contact EPA about lead concerns in my area?

The Superfund hotline (800-424-9346) can assist you. Alternatively, you can visit the EPA Where you live page from which you can contact your EPA Region and access other EPA information sources.

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How do I learn about lead hazards in consumer products?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posts this information on its Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/BUSINFO/leadguid.html.

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Where can I get more information about lead-based paint?

The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Web site provides information on lead hazard control in homes as well as a list of state-licensed contractors for lead-based paint removal. Also, to learn more about the effects of lead poisoning and EPA's role in reducing the presence of lead in the environment, visit the EPA's Lead Web page.

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What is the IEUBK model?

The Integrated Exposure Uptake and Biokinetic (IEUBK) model is a computer program used by EPA to predict lead concentrations in water, soil, and air that are acceptable for areas where children live and play. For more detailed technical information about the IEUBK, please visit the Software and Users' Manuals page.

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What is the ALM?

The Adult Lead Methodology (ALM) is a mathematical equation used by EPA to predict the lead concentration in soil that would be appropriate for non-residential areas (for example, industrial or commercial areas) where children are not likely to live or play. For more detailed technical information about the ALM, please visit the Software and Users' Manuals page.

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Why is EPA using these models and what do the results tell us?

The models allow EPA to predict blood lead levels (and risks) for areas where no population may be present (future uses) or for cases where the community is currently taking preventative measures to reduce exposure. The results of the IEUBK and ALM provide EPA with information that aids in cleaning up contaminated site to levels that are acceptable to the most sensitive population that will be exposed.

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How might I be exposed to lead?

Lead is naturally-occurring, so it can be found in high concentrations in some areas. In addition, lead can contaminate soil, air, and water due to human activities (including mining and smelting, as well as dumping of certain paints, pipes, or ceramics). Because lead is widely distributed, there are many possible ways to be exposed to lead, including drinking contaminated water; intentionally or unintentionally eating soil, paint chips, and dust; inhalation of lead-containing particles of soil or dust in air; and ingestion of foods that contain lead from soil or water.

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What are symptoms of lead exposure?

Early symptoms of lead exposure may include persistent fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, reduced attention span, insomnia, and constipation. Lead poisoning may also cause increased blood pressure, hearing and vision impairment, and reproductive problems (e.g., decreased sperm count). It also can retard fetal development even at relatively low levels.

In children, lead poisoning can cause learning and behavioral problems, brain damage, mental retardation, anemia, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, hyperactivity, developmental delays, other physical and mental problems, and in extreme cases, death. Although the effects of lead exposure are a potential concern for all humans, young children (0 to 7 years old) are the most at risk.

For more information on the health effects of lead, including health effects associated with specific blood lead concentrations, please see:

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Where can I find information about lead in drinking water?

EPA’s Office of Water Web page provides information on lead contamination of drinking water.

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