Lead is a natural element with thousands of uses. Because it is widespread (and often hidden) lead can easily contaminate food and water where it is undetectable to the eye or taste.
Review Date 6/23/2019
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.