What are Lead-Bearing Substances?

Painted surfaces with a excess of 5,000 ppm (0.5%) or greater than 1.0 mg/square centimeter are considered Lead-Bearing Substances.


Does My Building Contain Lead-Bearing Substances?

If your building was built before 1978, it is likely to contain lead-bearing substances. Call the Industrial Hygiene Office (882-7018) for any specific information.


Health Effects of Lead-Bearing Substances

Lead usually enters your body via inhalation or ingestion. You can inhale lead when lead dust, mist, or fumes are present in the air you breathe. This is often the main way that lead gets into your body. Particles of lead can be swallowed if lead gets on your hands, clothing, or beard, or if it gets in your food or drink. If you smoke a cigarette that has lead particles on it, you can inhale and swallow the lead. For these reasons it is important not to eat, drink, or smoke in your work area. It is also important to wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, or smoking.

Once lead gets into your body, it stays there for a long time. Lead can build up in your body if you are exposed even to small amounts of lead for a long time. Too much lead in your body can harm your health. In general, the more lead there is in your blood, the more likely it is that harm will occur. The amount of lead that can cause health effects varies from one person to another. Lead can harm your nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, blood-forming system, and digestive system.


MU Lead Program Overview

All building renovation projects where suspect lead-containing materials are involved shall be reviewed by EHS. Prior to work on any suspect building material, EHS must complete an inspection analysis of the material to determine lead content. Lead abatement and control procedures will be determined by building occupancy and nature of the project. When lead containing surfaces are disturbed on buildings, facilities, or equipment, the faculty, staff, students, and visitors may be exposed. Therefore, EHS will work with appropriate campus units to provide the necessary guidance, controls, and surveillance needed. All hazardous lead wastes will be disposed of through EHS.

Some information on this page came from the State of California Department of Health Services and Department of Industrial Relations Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service.