The incidence of lead (7439921) (Pb) exposure was assessed as part of a surveillance project conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health. Data from January 1986 to June 1989 indicated that 1916 workers were exposed to Pb in their workplaces. The total number of reports increased in 1988 and 1989, but there was no discernible trend. On average, peak blood Pb levels in 27% of the subjects were 1.21 to 1.44 micromoles per liter (micromol/l); in 43% from 1.45 to 1.92micromol/l; in 19% from 1.93 to 2.41micromol/l; in 7% from 2.42 to 2.89micromol/l; in 3% from 2.90 to 3.37micromol/l; and 2% reported values above 3.38micromol/l. The four industries which accounted for 51% of exposures were in nine facilities including primary copper, vitreous china, tableware and kitchenware, storage batteries, and cyclic crudes. Eleven other industries represented 26% of the exposures, with 11% in metal related industries and 8% in the plastics industry. Of the remaining 23%, 5% were in the construction industry. Blood Pb levels above 2.42micromol/l were seen in 33% of construction workers and 26% of wholesale trade workers. The authors conclude that workers in New Jersey are being exposed to Pb levels above the OSHA standard, and that the most severe exposures are in the construction and scrap metal industries.