Lead in household items

Lead is present in many everyday household items. Modern laws control the levels of lead in many items, however, some older products or those manufactured in some overseas countries, may contain high levels of lead that can be a health hazard. Young children and unborn babies are at greatest risk from lead exposure.

The most common product containing lead is lead-acid car batteries. Lead-acid batteries are also used in boats, caravans, camper trailers, and camping solar systems. Smaller lead-acid batteries can be used in household items such as alarm systems and computer power supplies.

Other household items containing lead are leadlight and stained glass items (PDF 264KB). Lead is present in the dividers (called lead cames) that hold small pieces of glass to make a larger panel, or in the solder, which connects the dividers. Over time, the dividers or solder can deteriorate, causing a white powdery lead dust to build up on leadlight and stained glass, or on nearby surfaces such as window or door ledges and frames.

For a list of household items that could have lead lurking in them, check out:

Further information

For further information on lurking lead in household items, contact SA Health's Scientific Services on (08) 8226 7100.