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Lead poisoning in bridge demolition workers - Georgia, 1992.

Authors
Frumkin-H; Gerr-F; Castaneda-F; Leal-A; Brown-S; Santiago-LR
Source
MMWR 1993 May; 42(20):388-390
NIOSHTIC No.
00235881
Abstract
This report summarizes the findings of an investigation of the elevated blood lead (7439921) levels in four demolition workers in Georgia. The workers were immigrants from Mexico, and were hired by a temporary service company subcontracted by a steel corporation. They were hired to cut apart steel beams removed from a bridge using oxyacetylene flame cutting torches; they had no training or protective equipment. All four workers reported light headedness and shortness of breath in April from metal fumes. In early May all four developed a variety of symptoms including headache, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbance, confusion, forgetfulness, arthralgia, and abdominal pain. Paper masks were provided in late May by the steel company; however, the masks became blocked within hours by dust and the workers discarded them. By June the workers experienced nausea, vomiting, constipation, weakness, shortness of breath, loss of balance, and nervousness. Personal air sampling was conducted for one of the four workers and found to contain 525 micrograms of lead/cubic meter, more than 10 times the OSHA limits. The blood lead levels were 93, 90, 59, and 66 micrograms/deciliter. The workers carried no medical insurance and the subcontractor and steel company both declined to assume the costs of treatment. The workers eventually sought legal assistance and received three 5 day chelation treatments; they showed some improvement. OSHA cited the steel company for violations of the lead standard. One worker continued to show neurologic abnormalities. An editorial note discussed lead exposure during bridge construction and demolition.
Keywords
NIOSH-Author; Lead-poisoning; Demolition-industry; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Nervous-system-disorders; Blood-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Humans
CODEN
MMWRB6
CAS No.
7439-92-1
Publication Date
19930528
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
1993
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
20
ISSN
0892-3787
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS
Source Name
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
State
GA; OH
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