lead is very soft, they used to fill pencils with it. It rubs right off of itself. That’s how it gets in from the solid form. Lead used to be in gasoline. When it was, it became airborne. Once airborne it can be breathed in and also settles down in the form of dust which accumulates over time. Plants take in the dust through their leaves and systemically through the roots. The amount brought up through the roots in minimal and not considered a hazard in itself. The danger is mostly from direct contact with the dust. Lead also gets into the environment from mining, and industry where it is released in the dust form. There’s also the dust from lead paint chips that are still in the environment even though most applications of that paint were stopped in 1978.
“Lead in dirt clings to fingers, toys and other objects that children normally put in their mouths. This is the most common way that lead in soil gets into your child. Lead in soil does not pass through unbroken skin. If soil is covered with plants, rocks or other ground cover, children have less contact with the dirt and the lead in it. The more lead that is in your soil, the more harmful the soil can be to your children’s health.” http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/hs/leadsoil.asp
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