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Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance -- United States, Second Quarter, 1995

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program (ABLES) monitors elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among adults in the United States (1). Twenty-three states, representing 64% of the U.S. population, report BLL surveillance results to ABLES. This report presents data from ABLES for the second quarter, 1995.

Based on the total U.S. population, the 26,832 reports (2) of adults with BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL reported to ABLES in 1994 represents approximately 42,000 reports throughout the United States, and the 12,137 persons on whom these reports were made represents approximately 19,000 persons.

During April-June 1995, ABLES received 5870 reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL, a decrease of 7% from the 6314 reports for the same period in 1994 Table_1. Compared with the second quarter, 1994, reports for 1995 decreased 4% for BLLs 25-39 ug/dL, 17% for BLLs 40-49 ug/dL, and 21% for BLLs 50-59 ug/dL; reports increased 4% for BLLs greater than or equal to 60 ug/dL. During January-June 1995, cumulative reports of BLLs greater than or equal to 25 ug/dL increased 1% over reports for the same period in 1994 Table_1. Cumulative reports increased for BLLs 25-39 ug/dL but decreased for all higher levels. Although there was some variation in the second quarter of 1995, the trend of increasing reports at the lower reporting levels and decreasing reports at the higher levels is consistent with the data for 1994 (2).

Reported by: JP Lofgren, MD, Alabama Dept of Public Health. C Fowler, MS, Arizona Dept of Health Svcs. S Payne, MA, Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Prog, California Dept of Health Svcs. BC Jung, MPH, Connecticut Dept of Public Health and Addiction Svcs. M Lehnherr, Occupational Disease Registry, Div of Epidemiologic Studies, Illinois Dept of Public Health. R Gergely, Iowa Dept of Public Health. B Carvette, MPH, Occupational Health Program, Maine Bureau 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. 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. E Rhoades, MD, Oklahoma State Dept 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. D Perrotta, PhD, Bureau of Epidemiology, Texas Dept of Health. D Beaudoin, MD, 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. V Ingram-Stewart, MPH, 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: Reporting of adults with elevated BLLs reflects monitoring practices by employers. Variation in national quarterly reporting totals may result from 1) changes in the number of participating states, 2) timing of receipt of laboratory BLL reports by state-based surveillance programs, and 3) interstate differences in worker BLL testing by lead-using industries.

The data presented in this report document the persistence of work-related lead exposures as an occupational health problem in the United States. ABLES can further enhance 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.


  1. CDC. Surveillance of elevated blood lead levels among adults -- United States, 1992. MMWR 1992;41:285-8.

  2. CDC. Adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance -- United States, 1994 and first quarter, 1995. MMWR 1995;44:515-7.

  3. CDC. Erratum: Vol. 43, No. 40, 1995. MMWR 1995;44:15.

  4. CDC. Adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance -- United States, second quarter, 1994. MMWR 1994;43:741-2.

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. Reports of elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among adults, number
of adults with elevated BLLs, and percentage change in number of reports
-- 23 states, * second quarter, 1995
           Second quarter, 1995
Reported   ---------------------  Cumulative   Cumulative   % change
BLL            No.        No.       reports,    reports,     1994-
(ug/dL)      reports +  persons &    1995        1994 @      1995
25-39         4,393     3,476       9,307       8,659       + 7%
40-49         1,152       817       2,349       2,754       -15%
50-59           208       136         453         540       -16%
 >=60           117        68         199         229       -13%
Total         5,870     4,497      12,308      12,182       + 1%
* Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine,
  Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
  North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas,
  Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
+ Data for Alabama and Michigan are missing; second quarter 1994 data are
  used as an estimate.
& Individual reports are categorized according to the highest reported BLL
  for the person during the given quarter. Pennsylvania provides the number
  of reports, but not the number of persons; the number of persons for
  Pennsylvania in this table are estimates based on the proportions from
  the other 22 states combined and the number of reports received from
  Pennsylvania. Data for Alabama and Michigan are missing; second quarter
  1994 data are used as an estimate.
@ Data for the second quarter of 1994 are corrected (3) from data published
  earlier (4) and include data for Maine, which were not previously

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