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sign that warns of fuel containing lead

Information for Employers

Lead Exposure Limits

The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for lead is a Time Weighted Average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) over 8-hours.

The required (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for lead is also no greater than 50 µg/m3 averaged over an 8-hour period. The PEL is reduced for shifts longer than 8 hours by the equation PEL = 400/hours worked.

The required (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) action level for lead in general industry and the construction industry is a Time Weighted Average of 30 µg/m3 over 8-hours.

Some studies suggest that the current OSHA PEL and NIOSH REL may be too high to protect against certain health effects. 1, 2

Information on OSHA Lead Standards

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Lead

OSHA Lead Standards: General Industry

OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Construction: Lead


1 NIOSH Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) [ ]

2 Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) 2009 Position statement: Public health reporting national notification for elevated blood lead levels [ (PDF 99 KB, 11 pages)]