Preparing for the overhaul...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

But Won't Lead Kill Me?

My husband raised a good point the other night: isn't lead poisonous?  Won't working with lead tape a lot kill you?  Is there any safe way to create these windows?

I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on TV.  This post isn't a substitute for actual medical advice.  If you have any concerns, please talk to a real doctor.

I did some research.  According to several reputable sources, including OSHA, lead is dangerous--but not to your skin.  Rather, with a couple of exceptions for certain lead-baased industrial compounds, lead gets into your blood stream not through your hands, but through your mouth.  It's a really good idea, therefore, to wear a mask.

Also, to be on the safe side, you should...
  1. Wash your hands (including the undersides of your fingernails) thoroughly after each and every handling.
  2. Remove all detritus from your work area after every session.
  3. Be really careful to keep any stray lead bits away from your clothes.
And if you're pregnant, you probably shouldn't touch it at all!

I've been making art of various types for years, and I've taken some pretty dumb risks.  But, as one gets older and contemplates having (and, indeed, raising) children, one becomes more aware of the dubious possibilities.  I'm a lot more careful now than I was!  I do, however, have numerous scars to prove each (hopefully past) stupidity.

Any horror stories?  Safety tips you'd like to share?  Thoughts on making windows...or anything else?


Tabitha Corsica said...

I used lead came for years making stained glass windows and never had any problems. Young children are more at risk for ingesting lead than adults. When my son was little, he had a routine lead level done and while the result was very low, I was shocked...I expected it to be zero. His reply was that for city kids, leaded gas was the issue.

Anyway, it's always a good idea to wash your hands after working with anything. Unless one has a habit of chewing on the lead tape, I wouldn't worry about it.

Sierra said...

Just as long as you are safe, you will be fine :-)

CountryRefuge said...

I also did stained glass for years. Breathing the fumes when soldering with lead/tin solder was probably not as healthy as most other things I did, but I do agree with Tabitha. I think once you are past child-bearing years, if you use basic safety protocols when working around any chemicals you are probably relatively safe.