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Lead is a harmful environmental pollutant previously used in paint, gasoline and plumbing fixtures, along with several other products. During the latter part of the 20th century, lead was recognized for its' harmful health effects, and its' uses were widely regulated by law. Lead is still present in leaded gasoline, house-paints used prior to 1978, and more recently has been found on children's toys.

Lead can enter the human body through ingestion (through food or drink) and inhalation of dust particles. Health effects can result at very low levels, and are recognized to affect almost all of the body's systems. Of greatest concern are fetuses, infants and young children. It is possible that children may be subjected to higher levels of exposure as they often put their fingers in their mouths.

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