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Lead Weights—Wheels (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 affect 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.

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. They commonly fall off where a vehicle rapidly changes momentum—slowing down for traffic lights or turning onto a side street or into a business. Recent studies have documented that on average 5% of these wheel weights fall off onto roadways. This means, that every year approximately 40 tons of lead wheel weights are deposited onto Washington’s roads. Once on a roadway, they can be pulverized by traffic and then washed into storm drains or surface water when it rains. Busy streets and parking lots are the primary sources of lead in urban runoff and can contaminate a water supply and harm aquatic life.

What You Can Do:

Use alternative wheel weights made of steel. These have become standard practice in Europe, but are new in the United States.

Where else is lead is found?

  • Paint—Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint.
  • Toys and Toy Jewelry—Some toys and toy jewelry have been found to contain levels of lead that can pose a serious health risk to children.
  • Drinking water—Your home may have plumbing which used lead or lead solder. Call Clark County Public Health (360-397-8428) or your local water supplier for information about testing your water.
  • 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.
  • On Your Job or at Home—You should shower and change clothes after working with lead on your job or at home with a hobby (e.g., pottery or stained glass). Also launder any lead contaminated clothes separately.
  • Containers Food and liquids stored in lead glazed pottery or porcelain or lead crystal can become contaminated from lead leaching from these containers.

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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