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Recycling A-Z Index

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Naturally Beautiful





Recycle A to Z

Lead (Non-Ferrous Metal)

Lead is a naturally occurring non-ferrous metal found in the earth’s crust. It has been used in commercial and household products for thousands of years. In the past lead was used in paint, gasoline, pottery, water pipes and other products.

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body. Children and adults can get lead poisoning though ingesting (eating) or inhaling (breathing) materials or dusts that contain lead).

There is no safe level of lead. When lead is absorbed, it has an adverse effect on your nervous systems. Animals are also adversely affected from inhaling or ingesting lead.

Medical research shows that lead can harm human health even at low exposure levels.

Lead poisoning is widespread and preventable. Some of the adverse effects of lead include learning abnormalities and behavioral problems in children. Kids are more vulnerable to lead than adults; but lead effects all human health and the environment.

Lead, is one of the most hazardous, toxic metals because of its ability to accumulate as it is absorbed in a body. Lead also has a long life in the environment.

Where is lead found?


Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. (See Lead Paint or Lead Paint Chips for more information.)

Soil Around a Home

Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint or other sources. Children playing in yards can ingest or inhale lead dust. (See Lead Contaminated Soil for more information.)

Drinking Water

Your home may have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call the Clark County Public Health (360- 397-8428) or your local water supplier for information about testing your water. (See Lead in Drinking Water for more information.)

On Your Job or at Home

You should shower and change clothes after working with lead on your job or with a hobby (e.g., pottery or stained glass) at home,. Also launder lead contaminated clothes separately.

Toys and Jewelry

Some toys and toy jewelry have been found to contain levels of lead that can pose a serious health risk to children. (See for disposal options.)


Food and liquids stored in lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery or porcelain can become contaminated from lead leaching from these containers. (See Lead Containers for more information.)

Lead Acid Batteries

A vehicle battery is a wet cell battery, which can contain an average of 21 pounds of lead (a highly toxic metal), three pounds of plastic and one gallon of sulfuric acid (a corrosive electrolyte solution). Over 600 tons of lead from discarded or improperly stored lead batteries are released annually into the Washington State environment. (See Batteries (Automotive Lead Acid) for more information.)

Lead Shot

Lead is used in making ammunition because the density and hardness of lead provide desirable ballistic properties. Lead shot from hunting and recreational shooting can expose dozens of bird species and other wildlife to the toxic effects of lead poisoning. Over 600 tons of spent lead shot end up on or in Washington’s lands or waterways annually. Many animals are directly exposed to lead when they mistake lead fragments for food or grit. (See Lead Shot for more information.)

Lead Fishing Weights

Washington State waters. (See Lead Fishing Weights for more information.)

Lead Wheel Weights

An average vehicle contains ten wheel weights (two on each of the four wheels and two more on the spare), the majority of which are clip-on types that can detach from the wheel's rim. Recent studies have documented that on average 13% of these wheel weights fall off onto roadways. This means, that approximately 40 tons of lead wheel weights are deposited annually onto Washington’s roads. (See Lead Wheel Weights for more information.)

Proper Disposal

Free Household Hazardous Waste Disposal
If you are a resident of Clark County or one of its cities, you may dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste products at any of the following HHW collection programs. Business-generated hazardous waste will not be accepted.

Home Collection
Eligible senior and citizens with disabilities who are unable to transport HHW to a collection site or event may call (360) 397-6118 ext. 4352 to see if they qualify for a free home pick up.

Fixed Collection Facilities

Satellite Collection Events


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