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Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, Second Quarter, 1996

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program (ABLES) monitors laboratory-reported elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among adults in the United States. This report presents ABLES data through the second quarter of 1996 and compares these data with the second quarter of 1995.

During April 1-June 30, 1996, the 6305 reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL represented a 7% decrease from the 6782 reports for the second quarter of 1995 (1), which now include previously unpublished data for Minnesota and an estimate for Ohio. For the first 2 quarters of 1996, the number of reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL decreased by 9% compared with the number reported for the first 2 quarters of 1995 (1), which also include previously unpublished data for Minnesota and an estimate for Ohio (Table_1). The cumulative number of reports in 1996 decreased at each reporting level compared with data for 1995. This overall trend of decreasing reports is consistent with the first quarter report for 1996 (2).

Reported by: JP Lofgren, MD, Alabama Dept of Public Health. K Schaller, 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. M Falken, PhD, Minnesota Dept of 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. A Migliozzi, MSN, Bur of Health Risk Reduction, Ohio Dept of Health. 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. J Tierney, 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: The findings in this report suggest that exposure to lead may be decreasing; however, variation in national quarterly reporting totals may result from 1) changes in the number of participating states; 2) changes in staffing and funding in state-based surveillance programs; and 3) interstate differences in worker BLL testing by lead-using industries. ABLES data also may be underreported when compared to estimates of the number of adults exposed to lead derived from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (3).

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 in adults.

References

  1. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, second quarter, 1995. MMWR 1995;44:801-2.

  2. CDC. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, first quarter, 1996 and annual 1995. MMWR 1996;45:628-31.

  3. Brody DJ, Pirkle JL, Kramer RA, et al. Blood lead levels in the US population: Phase 1 of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988 to 1991). JAMA 1994;272:277- 83.



    Table_1
    Note: To print large tables and graphs users may have to change their printer settings to landscape and use a small font size.
    
    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 --
    25 states, * second quarter, 1996
    ===================================================================================================
                         Second quarter, 1996
    Reported BLL     -----------------------------     Cumulative        Cumulative       % Change
    (ug/dL)          No. reports +   No. persons &   reports, 1995 @    reports, 1996     1995-1996
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    25-39                5,024           3,508           10,527             9,978           - 5%
    40-49                  959             674            2,697             2,111           -22%
    50-59                  224             159              554               431           -22%
    >= 60                   98              55              236               200           -15%
    
    Total                6,305           4,396           14,014            12,720           - 9%
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    * Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
      Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Okla-
      homa, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wiscon-
      sin.
    + Data for Alabama were missing; first quarter 1995 data were used as an estimate.
    & Individual reports for persons are categorized according to the highest reported BLL for the
      person during the given quarter. Pennsylvania provides the number of reports but no infor-
      mation on persons. The data on persons from Pennsylvania included in this table are estimates
      based on the proportions from the other 24 states combined and the number of reports
      received from Pennsylvania. Data for Alabama were missing; first quarter 1995 data were used
      as an estimate.
    @ Data for Minnesota and Ohio are included for the first time in addition to previously published
      1995 totals (1). For Minnesota, first and second quarter data for 1995 were used; for Ohio,
      first and second quarter data for 1996 were used as an estimate.
    ===================================================================================================
    

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