The greatest risk for poisoning of workers and the public is from lead. There has been more research about its toxic effects than any other metal. Toxicity depends on particle size and solubility, which determines how easily it is absorbed, with the greatest hazard being from inhaled & ingested lead particulate dust and fine lead fume.
The smaller the particle size the more rapid the absorption and the more severe toxic effect. Lead is a neurotoxin, implicated in affecting the intellectual development of the young, kidney dysfunction, blood pressure problems and many other affects.
Most people are unaware they are exposed to a lead hazard.
Occupational Health & Safety Practitioners control the risks of exposure with many industrial lead application processes, however lead containing paint, which was widely used until the 1950' in Australia in buildings is of the greatest concern.
Identifying lead based painted surfaces is the first step in safeguarding your health particularly where renovations are proposed. Renovations of buildings containing lead painted surfaces without safe controls can produce lead hazards that can remain in the building for many years after completion.
Surfaces blasted, sanded or mechanically abraded can produce fine particulate dust which can be deposited almost anywhere throughout the interior of the building and be a costly remediation process.