Request for information about inorganic lead
NIOSH Docket Number 315, CDC-2018-0059
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) intended to evaluate the scientific data on inorganic lead, develop appropriate communication documents, such as a current intelligence bulletin, which will convey the potential health risks, recommended measures for safe handling, and establish an updated Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). As of 2018, the NIOSH REL for inorganic lead is 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as a time-weighted average (TWA) concentration for an 8-hr work shift during a 40-hr workweek. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for inorganic lead is 50 µg/m3 for an 8-hour period with an action level of 30 µg/m3 for an 8-hour period. Currently, concentrations below the REL can be detected and quantified. As part of an effort to identify RELs that may not be adequate to protect workers from adverse health effects due to exposure, NIOSH is reexamining the REL for inorganic lead.
Inorganic lead is a naturally occurring soft, gray metal that has been used in various forms since ancient times. Occupational exposures occur in a wide range of industries including, but not limited to, the following: construction; smelting and refining; firing ranges; automobile repair; electronic waste recycling; metal recycling; and many others. Significant occupational exposures to inorganic lead can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and through the skin, principally through damaged skin.
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