Some lead compounds are colorful and are used widely in paints. A recent study showed that over 38 million homes still contain lead paint. Lead paint eventually breaks down into dust and is easily ingested by the people living there.
Residual lead in the soil contributes to lead expsosure more in urban areas. This is from residual dust from broken-down lead paint, residues from lead containing gasoline or pesticides, contaminated landfilles or from nearby industries such as foundries or smelters.
Lead from the atmospear or soil can eventually end up in groundwater or surface water. Also lead in drinking water can occur from a house that contains lead pipes or lead solder. A recent news article showed that high levels of lead in the drinking water in Washington D.C. were present due to many of the water lines containing lead.