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Health hazard evaluations; occupational exposure to lead, 1994 to 1999
  • Published Date:
    March 2001
Filetype[PDF-857.00 KB]


Details:
  • Corporate Authors:
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch.
  • Description:
    "This document presents titles and summaries of the 31 HHE's related to lead that were completed between 1994 and 1999. In most cases lead exposure was just one of several exposures that NIOSH researchers investigated at a work site. Occupational exposure to lead occurs via inhalation of lead-containing dust and fume and ingestion from contact with lead-contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of lead poisoning include weakness, excessive tiredness, irritability, constipation, anorexia, and abdominal discomfort (colic), fine tremors, and "wrist drop." Overexposure to lead may also result in damage to the kidneys, anemia, high blood pressure, impotence, and infertility and reduced sex drive in both sexes. In most cases, an individual's blood lead level (BLL) is a good indication of recent exposure to and current adsorption of lead. BLL will also reflect bone stores, where 90% of lead is stored in the body, so it may not be an accurate measure of recent exposure if there has been long-term, high lead exposures. Elevated zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) levels have also been used as an indicator of chronic lead intoxication. Persons without occupational lead exposure usually have a ZPP level less that 40 microg/dl. However, other factors, such as iron deficiency, can cause an elevated ZPP level, so the BLL is a more specific test for evaluating occupational lead exposure. BLLs for the U.S. population as a whole have declined significantly over the past three decades. In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted from 1988 through 1991, the geometric mean BLL was 2.8 microg/dl." - NIOSHTIC-2

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