NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927Z1UK - Improving Hand Washing (Lead Wipes)Start Date: 10/1/2005
End Date: 9/30/2010
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Carol Stephenson
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed8.0
Secondary Goal AddressedNone
Attributed to Manufacturing50%
NIOSH-developed color-changing lead detection hand wipes provide an easy-to-use and objective exposure assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of hand washing practices for lead exposed workers. However, an evaluation of the impact of color-changing feedback on workers' behavior has not been done. The purpose of the laboratory-based and field-based pilot studies are to determine whether participants that receive color-changing feedback from hand wipes make improvements in hand washing practices as compared to participants that do not receive the color-changing feedback. A telephone survey will examine the types of businesses that may or may not be aware of the availability of the hand wipe technology.
Ineffective hand cleaning practices may result in unseen contamination that can be internally ingested or carried into the home to contaminate family members and the home environment. NIOSH researchers developed and patented a safe and easy-to-use color-changing hand wipe and associated procedures for testing for the presence of lead contamination on workers' hands. After hand washing, the wipes are rubbed over the hands to gather remaining lead contaminants, and subsequently sprayed with a mild aqueous acetic acid (pH 2.5) to solubilize the lead into lead ions and then with rhodizonate that turns red in the presence of the lead ions. Consequently, the wipes provide a visual indicator for the presence of lead contaminants that may remain on workers' hands after hand washing, thus indicating the need for further decontamination. The effectiveness of the wipes as a feedback and motivational tool has not been tested. Laboratory analyses of the amount of lead traces remaining on the used hand wipes will provide an objective and measurable test of the effectiveness of the hand washing practices and soaps. The participants' amount of time spent hand washing and washing techniques will be recorded and integrated into the data analyses.
Goal 1: To determine whether study participants that directly receive color-changing feedback from the hand wipes make improvements in their hand washing practices as compared to study participants that do not receive this feedback (phases 1 and 2).
While the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adult blood lead levels (BLL) should be less than 25ug/dL, state prevalence rates for adults with BLLs at this level or higher were 13.4 per 100,000 workers for 1994-1997 (NIOSH, 2004). Industries in which these adults (n=6,540) were exposed included manufacturing (58%), construction (22%), mining (8%), wholesale/retail trades (7%), service industry (3%), and transportation/public utilities (2%) (MMWR, 2004). It is widely recognized that worker lead exposure can lead to significant health problems, including damage to the nervous system, cardiovascular disorders, infertility, and renal health problems (MMWR, 2002). As the result of occupational exposure, hazardous levels of lead contaminants may remain on clothing or the skin, but are invisible to the eye. Consequently, ineffective hand cleaning practices may result in unseen contamination that can be internally ingested or carried into the home to contaminate family members and the home environment. This project will evaluate the impact of the NIOSH-developed lead detection hand wipe technology across three settings: controlled laboratory testing, evaluations of field-based applications of the technology, and impact in the workplace that results from technology/product dissemination.