hardware cloth contains lead?
"All things are poison and nothing (is) without poison; only the dose makes that a thing is no poison." -- Paracelsus (1493-1541)
Those warnings are placed on products that contain any lead at all. I do not have a solid source for hardware cloth specifically, but my logic would say that there is most likely a very small amount since it is used in the "hot dip" process of galvanizing the wire mesh. It is not a large part of the actual structure, but just a small component of the liquid bath that they dip the wire into to galvanize it.
Here is a quote related to plumbing pipes, which would be of much greater concern since they have your drinking water running thru them 24/7/365.
"Historical research documents that the grade of zinc typically used for galvanizing contains a minimum of 0.5% lead and can itself be a significant long-term source of lead, which may explain some recent lead contamination problems associated with galvanized steel. Surface analysis of various galvanized steel pipes and fittings installed from 1950 to 2008 demonstrated that the concentration of lead in the original zinc coating can range from nondetect to nearly 2%, dependent on the manufacturer and fitting type."
I think as long as you are not using the hardware cloth as a dinner plate each night, you will be ok! Just my 2 cents!
EDIT TO ADD ONE MORE EXAMPLE: I Googled around and found at least one person who gave some numbers.
"We have a content of 0.11% Pb in our zinc kettle. Due to new restrictions, we have to lower our Pb content to 0.05% Pb".
If you can assume that those numbers are about average, there is at most less than 1/10th of 1 percent lead in the dip solution, and the vast majority of that is going to stay in the kettle, not on your fencing.
Edited by paneubert - 4/28/16 at 11:21am