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Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, Fourth Quarter, 1995

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program (ABLES) monitors elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among adults in the United States (1). This report presents ABLES data for the fourth quarter of 1995.

During October-December 1995, the 6553 reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL represented a 4% decrease from the 6821 reports for the fourth quarter of 1994, which now include previously unpublished data for Maine (2). Compared with the fourth quarter of 1994, reports for the same period of 1995 increased 1% at the 25-39 ug/dL level; reports decreased 15% at the 40-49 ug/dL level, 27% at the 50-59 ug/dL level, and 10% at the greater than or equal to 60 ug/dL level. For 1995, cumulative reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL decreased 10% from reports for 1994 (Table_1). The cumulative number of reports decreased at each reporting level.

Compared with 1994, the increase in the number of reports at the highest reporting level (greater than or equal to 60 ug/dL) in the second and third quarters of 1995 (3) did not continue into the fourth quarter; the number of BLL reports during the fourth quarter in this category declined from 114 to 102 (2). The percentage of all reported BLLs at the greater than or equal to 60 ug/dL level was 3% in 1992 (4) and remained at 2% in 1993 (2), 1994 (5) and 1995 (Table_1).

Reported by: JP Lofgren, MD, Alabama Dept of Public Health. C Fowler, MS, Arizona Dept of Health Svcs. S Payne, MA, Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, California Dept of Health Svcs. BC Jung, MPH, Connecticut Dept of Public Health. M Lehnherr, Occupational Disease Registry, Div of Epidemiologic Studies, Illinois Dept of Public Health. R Gergely, Iowa Dept of Public Health. A Hawkes, MD, Occupational Health Program, Maine Bur of Health. E Keyvan-Larijani, MD, Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Maryland Dept of the Environment. R Rabin, MSPH, Div of Occupational Hygiene, Massachusetts Dept of Labor and Industries. M Scoblic, MN, Michigan Dept of Public Health. L Thistle-Elliott, MEd, Div of Public Health Svcs, New Hampshire State Dept of Health and Human Svcs. B Gerwel, MD, Occupational Disease Prevention Project, New Jersey State Dept of Health. R Stone, PhD, New York State Dept of Health. S Randolph, MSN, North Carolina Dept of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources. E Rhoades, MD, Oklahoma State Dept of Health. A Sandoval, MS, State Health Div, Oregon Dept of Human Resources. J Gostin, MS, Occupational Health Program, Div of Environmental Health, Pennsylvania Dept of Health. R Marino, MD, Div of Health Hazard Evaluations, South Carolina Dept of Health and Environmental Control. P Schnitzer, PhD, Bur of Epidemiology, Texas Dept of Health. W Ball, PhD, Bur of Epidemiology, Utah Dept of Health. L Toof, Div of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Vermont Dept of Health. J Kaufman, MD, Washington State Dept of Labor and Industries. V Ingram-Stewart, MPH, Wisconsin Dept of Health and Social Svcs. Div of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Variation in national quarterly reporting totals may result from 1) changes in the number of participating states, 2) timing of receipt of laboratory BLL reports by state-based surveillance programs, 3) changes in staffing and funding of state-based surveillance programs, and 4) interstate differences in worker BLL testing by lead-using industries. Variation from these sources reduces the capability to confidently identify trends in the actual data reported.

The findings in this report document the continuing hazard of work-related lead exposures as an occupational health problem in the United States. ABLES enhances surveillance for this preventable condition by expanding the number of participating states, reducing variability in reporting, and distinguishing between new and recurring elevated BLLs among adults.

References

  1. CDC. Surveillance of elevated blood lead levels among adults -- United States, 1992. MMWR 1992;41:285-8.

  2. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, fourth quarter, 1994. MMWR 1995;44:286-7.

  3. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, third quarter, 1995. MMWR 1996;45:170-1.

  4. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, fourth quarter, 1992. MMWR 1993;42:254.

  5. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, 1994 and first quarter, 1995. MMWR 1995;44:515-7.


Table_1
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TABLE 1. Number of reports of elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among adults, number
of adults with elevated BLLs, and percentage change in number of reports --
23 states, * fourth quarter, 1995
==================================================================================================
                                                Cumulative        Cumulative
Reported          Fourth quarter 1995          reports, 1995     reports, 1994        % Change
 BLL         -----------------------------     --------------    --------------         from
 (ug/dL)     No. reports +   No. persons &       No.     (%)       No.     (%)      1994 to 1995
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
25-39            5,034           3,720         18,492   ( 76)    19,420   ( 72)         - 5%
40-49            1,192             801          4,482   ( 18)     5,821   ( 22)         -23%
50-59              225             153            885   (  4)     1,132   (  4)         -22%
 >=60              102              65            412   (  2)       459   (  2)         -10%

Total            6,553           4,739         24,271   (100)    26,832   (100)         -10%
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
  Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn-
  sylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
+ Data for Alabama and South Carolina were missing; fourth quarter 1994 data were used as
  an estimate.
& Individual reports are categorized according to the highest reported BLL for the person during
  the given quarter. Pennsylvania provides the number of reports but not the number of persons;
  the number of persons for Pennsylvania in this table are estimates based on the proportions
  from the other 22 states combined and the number of reports received from Pennsylvania.
  Data for Alabama and South Carolina were missing; third quarter 1994 data were used as an
  estimate.
==================================================================================================

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