U.S. National Institutes of Health

Lead helps to guard your health
You wouldn’t live today in a house without an adequate plumbing system. For without modern plumbing, sickness might endanger your life. Lead concealed in walls and the under floors of many modern buildings help to give the best sanitation.
Lead pipe centuries old
Lead, therefore, is contributing to the health, comfort, and convenience of people today as it did when Rome was a center of civilization. Lead water and drainage pipes more than 1800 years old have been found in exactly the condition they were in when laid.
In some cities today the law specifies that lead pipe alone may be used to bring water from street mains into the building.
In drainage systems are lead traps made of lead pipe bent in to the shape of the letter S, so that a little water will stay in the bend and prevent gases which collect in the pipe from getting out through the house.
The malleability of lead also makes it easy to change the direction of any pipe through the use of lead bends.
Joining the pipes
A plumber easily “wipes” a joint or repairs a pipe leak with lead and tin solder. Because this allow melts at the low temperature of 358 degrees it can be applied without melting the lead pipe, which melts at 620 degrees.
lead is also poured into the flanges of pipe-joints to make them absolutely tight. Pipe threads are painted with white-lead or red-lead to make a tight connection. Where vibration or movement of pipes may loosen a poured joint, lead wool is used: lead shredded into threads is packed into the joint in a dense, compact mass.
Rubber gaskets and ball washers containing lead prevent leaking at the joints and faucets. Lead is used to beautify the modern bathroom. Red-lead and litharge, both lead oxides, are important ingredients in making the glossy white enamel covering the iron bodies of tub and basin and the glazed tile walls.
Lead in paint
While lead is invaluable in assuring comfort and proper sanitation, its best-known and most widespread use is as white-lead in paint. Such materials as wood would soon deteriorate unless protected with paint. And the paints that give the most thorough protection against the weather are based on white-lead.
The loss of invested capital through failure to protect the surface of property adequately has led property owners to paint frequently and well. As days and months go by, more and more of them are learning the wisdom of the phrase, “Save the surface and you save all.” And they are using white-lead paint to prolong the lives of their houses.
Look for the Dutch Boy
National Lead Company makes white-lead and sells it mixed with pure linseed oil, under the name and trade-mark of Dutch Boy white-lead. The figure of the Dutch Boy is reproduced on every keg and is a guarantee of exceptional purity.
More about lead
If you use lead, or think you might use it in any form, write to us for specific information.
National Lead Company