Lead Poisoning Is A Total Fallacy

I know this guy.

When he was a kid in elementary school, some other kid stabbed his hand with a number two pencil. For years, despite his family’s urgings, he never went the extra mile to extract the chunk of pencil lead in his hand. He’d read articles about lead poisoning, he’d been asked if he wanted to live past 30, and he even received pamphlets in the mail trying to convince him that before long…the lead poison would end his life.

Surprise! He’s still alive today!

Just like all of us have been lied to that there are actually air bags in our cars, we’re being lied to again by the general poison-warning government about lead being poisonous. Sure, don’t go and eat a box of number two pencils — that might hurt you. But periodic run-ins with the stuff, or having a piece of a pencil lodged in your throat for a few years…

You’re going to be okay.

I asked this guy I know if he’d had any weird symptoms over all these years with the lead pencil stuck in his hand and do you know what he told me? Despite some periodic dizziness (which he attributes to not learning how to breathe as fully and deeply as we probably should be breathing) and light-headedness…he’s got no issues. And ironically, as that lead slowly and methodically leaks into his blood stream — he’s felt stronger, smarter, more agile and more attractive to the opposite sex.

Personally, I’ve had a few of my own lead situations that involve the incident of ’83 when I sat on a sharpened pencil that had been stuck inbetween the wicker folds of a kitchen chair, thus piercing my left thigh/buttock and causing me to yell out in pain. There was the incident of ’91 when a friend who was playing Scrabble with me and was upset at my usage of all seven (7) letters and a 50 point bonus…he stabbed me accidentally in the shoulder with a sharp number two pencil. And of course, last week (and the reason for this post) I ended up playing around with one of those plastic pencils where you load it up with those skinny lead rods — and accidentally tasted part of one of the lead rods.

And I’m still here.

No sickness. No dizziness. No light-headed lack of equilibrium. In fact, with the variety of exposures I’ve had to lead, you’d think I’d be dead by now if you listened to the over-cautious lead-fearing U.S. Government. In fact, all the friends I have who have lead stuck in their arms, legs and hands — they’re all living productive, happy lives.

And what about you?

I’m not telling you to go out and eat lead based paint. I’m not telling you to ingest twelve pencils. I’m just telling you that if you happen to accidentally get lead lodged under your skin or you sit completely hard on an upright pencil or you happen to lick a dirty pencil while drunk (thinking it’s a lollipop) — you’ll be okay. We all will.

Because lead poisoning, in the casual sense — is a total fallacy.

17 comments on “Lead Poisoning Is A Total Fallacy

  1. Amy - September 24, 2006 at 10:12 am -

    Pauly, they stopped making pencils with lead many, many, many years ago. They’re graphite now. So, yes, you’re right. You can’t get lead poisining from a pencil. Heh…

  2. Pauly D - September 24, 2006 at 10:14 am -

    Amy – This could, potentially, be the reason why I’m still alive. Long live graphite!

  3. Dave2 - September 24, 2006 at 1:21 pm -

    Though I hear graphite causes paranoia, so you have to ask yourself did they REALLY stop making pencils with lead… or is this just something they tell is so that we don’t sue pencil companies when we get stabbed with one?

  4. susan - September 24, 2006 at 1:31 pm -

    Right again, Pauly. True story: My kid has a piece of graphite just under the skin a few inches north of his belly button. The doctor said: “No need to remove it, it will grow out on it’s own in a few years. Although not poisonous, graphite causes an individual to be a royal pain until they become parents and see for themselves what kind of sacrifices are necessary to be a parent.”

  5. Daniel - September 24, 2006 at 3:16 pm -

    You can’t get lead poisoning from graphite pencil…

    But it CAN make you think.

    Studies are just now showing that it can lead (leed) to writer’s block. and hand cramps

  6. Julia Farley - September 25, 2006 at 5:52 am -

    D000d! I have some of that lead/graphite in the heel of my right palm. It is that to which I attribute my insane ability to see through metal. They didn’t tell you that you get superpowers from that shit. They want everyone to think that your demise can be linked to the pencil chewing days of yute.

    I ate paste. Not pencils. Could be why I am so hell bent on dating someone neamed Elmer. Heh.

  7. kapgar - September 25, 2006 at 9:30 am -

    Wow! I got a personalized post from Pauly! Well, maybe not, but everything you said in this post (save for pamphlets) did happen to me. Grade school pencil stabbing in the palm, never removing, people freaking, all that jazz.

    And I made it past 30!

    Thanks for making me the subject o’ the day, Pauly! I’m honored.


  8. James Cooper - September 25, 2006 at 9:33 am -

    Story time!

    When I was very young, around the fourth grade it was, I often wound up letting my mind wander as I sat at my desk “doing my homework.”

    One night, as I sat there eyes glazed over, my no. 2 pencil began rolling off my desk. In my not-entirely-there state I reached for the pencil just before it reached the end of the desk and just then my chair tipped over.

    I fell with my chair, pencil loosely gripped in my hand, and as I hit the ground my bent elbow made contact and caused my grip to tighten and my hand to move towards my face. The end result — the tip of the pencil had punctured my right eyeball.

    I hadn’t realized that at first though and I explained to my parents what had happened and that my eye felt irritated. Little did I know I was leaking eyeball fluids and the damned thing was actually slowly deflating. It wasn’t until later that my parents gave in to my persistent whining and took me in to see the eye doctor.

    He took a quick look and quickly had me admitted to the hospital. There my eye was patched up and healed over the next few months.

    The amusing end result, however, was that the puncture was just outside of my visual cortex leaving my vision, poor as it already was, intact, and furthermore puncturing my eyeball actually cured me of my astigmatism. So, now I have one egg-shaped eyeball and the other is perfectly round.

    Oh, and I still have a little bit of graphite dust floating around in there which I see if I focus on it and move my eyes about so it swirls in the fluid.

  9. susan - September 25, 2006 at 1:22 pm -

    To James Cooper: Eyew. Poor you. Ouch. My problems seem so minor now – thanks for sharing!

  10. brenda d - September 27, 2006 at 10:06 am -

    okay, iget what you are saying. but what about pencils back in the sixties. did they have enough lead in them to hurt you? i understand that lead poisoning can take a long time to show symptoms. i jammed a pencil in my leg (accidently) back in elem. school and now have all these symptoms that can indicate lead poisoning. What do you think?

  11. cari - October 18, 2006 at 7:23 am -

    come on, its not lead. its graphite.

  12. Zarzy - November 27, 2006 at 2:41 am -

    Thank goodness i found your site! After being stabbed with a pencil about 10 years ago at school and being left with this attractive bit of pencil in my thumb , ive worried ever since from people telling me i’d get lead poisoning. Now i can stop worrying and stop picking at it in the hope id get it out. Yay!!

  13. Dahlia - December 23, 2006 at 10:20 am -

    Wow…u have my sympathy james cooper! im so glad I googled my pencil episode…..who knew! it turns out accidental pencil stabbing (APS) is Pretty damn common. btw just made that acronym up =)
    My APS episode happened in 1989, where I accidently stabbed my left palm with my pencil in a mad rage. I cant remember if I bled at all…and I tried to push it out at the time, but that was no help. I dont think I ever want it removed…I mean if its not doing any harm, why should I? Its been a part of me since childhood. Good new is: Im still Alive people! 25 goin on 26.

  14. tanisha - January 6, 2007 at 9:42 am -

    im so happy i found your site because im a pencil eater and all my friends are telling me that i am going to die of lead poisoning, now i know its graphite which isn’t poisonous. so can you reply back and tell me if im in any danger later on in my life, i am only fourteen, so if i will be in trouble i need to know so i can stop. thanks alot. tanisha jones.

  15. Julie - February 27, 2007 at 11:13 pm -

    I just had a piece of pencil lead (ie. graphite, carbon) removed from my left thumb yesterday. Then I started looking up info on pencil lead poisoning and found this website.
    I am 48 years old, this piece of writing utensil has been embedded in my thumb for at least 42 years. I don’t really even remember the incident I just know that it involved a pencil breaking off in my thumb. I never even told my parents about it until I was an adult and it started to bother me.
    It would surface occasionally and seemed to be getting bigger. Then several months ago it started to surface and itch. So, I decided it was time to have it removed. The Doc was amazed at how long it had been there but assured me that lead poisoning was not an issue. As the Doc was cutting it out she said that she couldn’t believe how big it was. It had developed a cyst next to and around it. The piece was about 1/4th inch long and 1/8th inch deep. There was also a lot of discoloration around the area that she removed.
    I probably would not have had it removed except that it was beginning to hurt and itch. It was kinda funny but during the extraction I started feeling sad because I was having a piece of me removed. But that went away quickly.
    So, I am a testiment to the fact that you don’t die by the age of 30 from pencil “lead” poisoning.

  16. Bored Alot - May 23, 2007 at 8:44 am -

    I feel the need to slap each and everyone of you who ever thought that pencils ever had lead in them. And that you could die from it.
    I mean, don’t you READ? It’s goddamn common knowledge.
    And this blog… It’s so insane that I can’t really tell if you’re joking or if you’re being serious. No one can be this retarded.

  17. Words for our enjoyment. « Welcome to the 505 - April 14, 2008 at 9:01 am -

    […] of the results Google came up with was Mr. Davidson’s post called “Lead Poisoning Is A Total Fallacy“. This post totally debunks the myth that lead poisoning can kill you. Except lead pencils […]

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