Lead exposure from hobbies
Some hobbies such as lead-lighting and making stained glass can increase your risk of lead exposure. These hobbies involve melting solder and sawing frames (also called dividers or lead came) which can generate lead fumes and dust. Other hobbies that can be sources of lead dust and fumes include working with old lead paint and mixing of lead glazes.
You should take precautions to minimise your lead exposure as much as possible, even if you take part in these hobbies occasionally, as there is no safe level of lead exposure.
Some hobbies that can increase your risk of lead exposure include:
- lead-lighting and making stained glass
- renovating older homes or restoring old furniture containing historic lead- based paint
- restoring cars and boats
- battery recycling
- soldering and casting e.g. electronics, making fishing sinkers and ammunition
- art and craft activities e.g. firing and glazing pottery, and artistic painting using oil paints
- shooting ranges and other recreational activities using firearms.
These hobbies can increase your risk of exposure to lead, as well as put your family at risk. Lead-contaminated dust from your hobby can attach to your clothes, shoes, hair, skin, and personal items, and readily transfer into your vehicle and onto surfaces in your home. This transfer is known as take-home lead. If your hobby area is on your property, such as a shed, then your family and pets can be exposed to lead contaminated dust or lead fumes if they enter the hobby area.
It is important you take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of take-home lead (PDF 197KB).
- Australian Government – Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water – Lead in recreational activities
For further information on the risk of lead exposure from hobbies, contact SA Health's Scientific Services (08) 8226 7100.