How does lead exposure occur?

Most people are exposed to lead through contact or ingestion of lead-contaminated dust or flaking of materials containing lead-based paint.  Even very small amounts can pose a substantial health risk.  Deteriorating lead paint is the number one source of lead dust.  Lead from deteriorating paint can also contaminate the soil around a building – more than 75 percent of housing units in the U.S. have some level of lead contamination.  The older the property, the greater the chance of contamination.  Some other sources of contamination include plumbing fixtures, drinking vessels or food containers made with lead.