Lead Exposure in Adults

The Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the results of blood lead tests conducted on adults across the State of New Hampshire and helping those exposed to lead through their work or hobbies get the resources they need.

Lead exposure is an ongoing health problem with many adults across New Hampshire through their exposure at work, their hobbies and antiques used in home décor. Adults are at risk if they work with metal, paint, pigments, or glazes that contain lead. Hobbies such as jewelry making, working with stained glass, and antique refinishing can expose adults to lead. Adults can also be exposed to lead through imported health remedies, spices, foods, pottery and cosmetics.

Most adults with lead poisoning don't look or feel sick. Symptoms of lead poisoning include headaches, stomach cramps, constipation, muscle/joint pain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, irritability, and loss of sex drive. Lead exposure can cause high blood pressure and brain, kidney and reproductive health issues in adults. If you think you may have been exposed to lead, ask your Health Care Provider for a simple blood lead test. Learn more by reading our Lead and Adults or  El plomo y los adultos (Spanish) factsheet.

Take Home Lead - Adult exposure to lead at work or through hobbies has implications for the worker’s family, especially young children and pregnant women. Workers can bring home small amounts of lead on their clothing, car keys, cell phones and shoes that can pose a serious threat to the health and development of young children and the fetus of pregnant women. 

Lead and Pregnancy - It is important to prevent lead exposure in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Lead has a half-life in a person’s bloodstream of 30 days; however, it can be stored in a person’s bones for years. When a woman is pregnant and/or breastfeeding, lead in her body can be passed to her baby from not only recent exposure but, also from exposure that may have occurred months or even years before. 

New Hampshire Occupational Health Program - The Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program partners with the New Hampshire Occupational Health Program at the University of NH. Together, these two programs conducted a study to better characterize blood lead levels in New Hampshire’s adult working population. To learn more, read the Characterization of Lower Blood Lead Levels Reported for NH Adults from 2014-2016.

Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (HHLPPP)

For more information call (800) 897-LEAD (5323) within New Hampshire or at (603) 271-4507.