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Lead (Pb) Pollution

What is Lead?

Lead is a bluish-gray, naturally occurring element/metal found deep within the ground. Lead is widely used in a variety of applications and products, including batteries, pipes, construction materials, X-ray shields, and more. It is toxic to both humans and animals when inhaled or ingested.

Where does lead pollution come from?

Lead becomes a pollution when it enters the air, water, soil and buildings. In the past, a major source of lead pollution came from leaded gasoline. After the adoption of unleaded gasoline, lead pollution now mostly comes from industrial sources like smelters, mining and refining. Once in the air, lead can attach to airborne particles to form particulate matter. Lead can also settle into the soil and then be kicked up again by human activity or wind. Indoor lead pollution is most common in older homes (pre-1978) that were constructed using lead-based paint and water pipes.

How does lead affect my health?

When suspended in the air, lead can be inhaled and distributed to the airways and the bloodstream. Exposure can cause the build-up of lead in the bones. Lead can cause irreversible damage to the human body, especially in children. In a young child’s immune system, lead can cause behavioral deficiencies, learning deficits, lowered IQ and slowed growth.

Pregnant women are also more at risk due to the accumulation of lead in the bones during and after exposure. The accumulated lead in the bones is released during pregnancy into the fetus. Lead can also enter the placenta, exposing the fetus to lead and causing premature birth and reduced growth.

In adults, lead exposure can cause heart problems, increased blood pressure, decreased kidney function, reproductive issues and difficulties with memory or concentration.

For more information, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead webpage about lead and how it may affect your health | View >

How can I protect myself?

Reducing exposure is the best way to protect oneself. Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has information about reducing exposure at the ADHS Lead Poisoning Parent Portal | View >

Forecast and historical monitored lead levels in Arizona

ADEQ issues a daily lead forecast for the Hayden/Winkelman area based on forecast wind speeds and direction. High levels of lead in the ambient air are due to mineral processing activities at the ASARCO Hayden Operations | Forecast >

Historical Hayden/Winkelman Lead Data | View >

Air Arizona App | Lead Forecast

Air Arizona is a free smartphone app. Within the app, Hayden/Winkelman residents, workers and visitors can access an airborne lead forecast.

Available from the Apple Store and Google Play in English and Spanish, the Air Arizona smartphone mobile app provides users with:

  • Lead forecast levels with probability based on daily forecast wind speeds and direction
  • Notifications when the daily lead forecast level is Moderate or High
  • Health suggestions for protecting yourself and your family
  • Information on pollution controls
  • Links to additional ADEQ resources

Get the FREE Air Arizona smartphone app today:
     Apple iOS | Download from Apple Store >
     Android | Download from Google Play >

Lead Plans

Lead Pollution (Pb) Nonattainment Area e-Map | View >

2017 Hayden Lead State Implementation Plan (SIP) | Download >