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Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, Third Quarter, 1992

In September 1992, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began quarterly reporting of adult elevated blood lead level (BLL) data from state-based surveillance programs. To support these efforts, NIOSH has established the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program.

In the previous report, 12 states * provided summary data on elevated BLLs (greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL of whole blood) (1). In this report, five additional states (Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Utah) have contributed to the surveillance effort, bringing to 17 the total number of states participating in quarterly reporting (Table 1). Twenty-one states collect BLL information on adults, and five states are developing the capacity to do so.

NIOSH surveillance research recently identified excessive lead exposures in the construction industry among bridge workers (2,3), workers conducting home paint removal (4), and workers performing paint removal on commercial superstructures such as water tanks (5). In October 1992, the U.S. Department of Labor was directed by Congress to issue an interim final regulation covering occupational exposures to lead in the construction industry **; this interim standard is to be published in April 1993. In addition to setting standards for construction workers, the regulation directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, CDC, and other federal agencies to ensure that workers engaged in lead paint removal are properly trained and that contractors engaged in such activities are certified.

Reported by: B Harrell, MPA, Div of Epidemiology; CH Woernle, MD, State Epidemiologist, Alabama Dept of Public Health. A Osorio, MD, Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program, California Dept of Health Svcs. J McCammon, MS, Epidemiology Div, Colorado Dept of Health. CJ Dupuy, Connecticut State Dept of Health Svcs. M Lehnherr, Occupational Disease Registry; H Howe, PhD, Div of Epidemiologic Studies, Illinois Dept of Public Health. K Choquette, MS, R Currier, DVM, State Epidemiologist, Iowa Dept of Public Health. E Coe, MPH, Health Registries Div, Maryland Dept of the Environment. R Rabin, MSPH, Div of Occupational Hygiene, Massachusetts Dept of Labor and Industries. P Dunbar, MPH, Bur of Child and Family Svcs, Michigan Dept of Public Health. T Ferrara, MD, Occupational Health Program, Bur of Risk Assessment, Div of Public Health Svcs, New Hampshire State Dept of Health and Human Svcs. B Gerwel, MD, Occupational Disease Prevention Program, New Jersey Dept of Health. R Stone, PhD, New York State Dept of Health. M Barnett, MS, State Health Div, Oregon Dept of Human Resources. R Marino, MD, Div of Health Hazard Evaluations, South Carolina Dept of Health and Environmental Control. T Willis, DM Perrotta, PhD, Environmental Epidemiologist, Texas Dept of Health. D Beaudoin, MD, Bur of Epidemiology, Utah Dept of Health. L Hanrahan, MS, Div of Health, Wisconsin Dept of Health and Social Svcs. Div of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.


  1. CDC. Elevated blood lead levels in adults -- United States, second quarter, 1992. MMWR 1992;41:715-6.

  2. Center to Protect Workers' Rights. Preventing lead poisoning in construction workers. In: Impact on construction safety. Washington, DC: Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 1992;10:5-6.

  3. NIOSH. Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA 91-006. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1992; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-006-2193.

  4. NIOSH. Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA 90-070. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1992; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)90-070-2181.

  5. NIOSH. Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA 91-209. Cincinnati: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1992; DHHS publication no. (NIOSH)91-209-2249.

    • Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin. ** Housing and Community Development Act, Title X, Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (Public Law 102-550).

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