Lead is extremely toxic and poses a very dangerous health risk to people. It can lead to brain damage and learning difficulties. Children are especially vulnerable to this toxin. During the Industrial Revolution the use of lead was prevalent and also during the 1920s when lead was added to gasoline. There is an excellent article in the Jan./Feb. 2013 issue of Mother Jones linking violent crime, lower IQs and lead throughout the 20th century.
In Canada unleaded gasoline was introduced in 1975 and leaded gasoline was finally phased out by 1990. Because lead concentrations in our air have declined since the 1970s, the blood lead levels of Canadians have also seen a steady decline by about 70%. However, lead exposure is still something we should be aware of, since, for example, it can be found in soil and in older homes due to leaded paint. See the Health Canada website for information on how to minimize your risks when renovating older homes. And to find out more about how you can limit your exposure to this dangerous substance, click here.