National Library of Medicine

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Explore research on industrial lead exposure, childhood lead poisoning, and the health impacts of lead water pipes, as well as related public health guidance through items in the NLM Digital Collections.

An illustration of a white woman wearing a mask carrying a basin on her head

Illustration from Dangerous trades; the historical, social, and legal aspects of industrial occupations as affecting health, by a number of experts, edited by Thomas Oliver, 1902

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

The collection of white lead for paint manufacturing during the 19th century was one of the “dangerous trades” in Thomas Oliver’s studies of industrial hazards. The filling and emptying of white lead stoves in factories were largely done by women until 1898 when the White Lead Commission determined the work to be too “detrimental to female life.” In the image, a woman protects herself from lead fumes with a mask.