According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, lead is a metal that occurs naturally deep within the ground. It also occurs naturally in small amounts in ore, silver, zinc and copper.
Despite the fact that it occurs in small amounts, there is an abundant supply of lead throughout the world. Because this supply of lead is easy to extract, it has been used in a variety of products, such as paint, ceramics, pipes, solders, gasoline, batteries and cosmetics. Starting in 1980, federal and state regulatory standards have resulted in the elimination or reduction of the amount of lead in consumer products.