Lead is stored in calcified tissues, and the lead levels in human remains will therefore reflect in vivo exposures in the past, provided that postmortem contamination can be ruled out or successfully removed. Reliable chemical testimonies from archeological finds indicate that prepollution exposures to lead were of the order of 1% of current-day exposures in industrialized countries. Examination of these silent witnesses of past times has also shown that lead exposures during recent historical periods were much higher than today. Studies in this area provide a framework for evaluation of lead exposures. The results would suggest that an ideal control group should not be exposed to lead levels any higher than the low, prepollution levels.