Lead in the Workplace

Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES)

Key points

  • This program monitors work-related lead exposure in the United States.
  • The lead exposure data are collected by the states and shared with NIOSH researchers.
  • Any state can participate - currently, 37 states contribute data.
  • Researchers use these data to see what jobs and industries have lead exposures that need to be addressed.
Female researcher assessing data using a computer.


The ABLES program was created to reduce elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) among working adults 16 years and older.


Participating in ABLES helps health departments monitor workplace lead exposure trends occurring within their state.

The ABLES program also helps states find ways to prevent work-related lead exposure.

Any state health departments can choose to participate. If your state is interested, please contact us. Currently, 37 states collaborate with NIOSH as part of the ABLES program.

How the program works

Participating health departments collect blood lead data for their state and provide these data to NIOSH. NIOSH researchers then analyze the data to identify trends in adult workplace lead exposure. This information is used to guide interventions and prevent work-related lead exposures.

Each year, participating states submit:

  • All blood lead levels (BLLs)A
  • Workplace data
  • Demographic information

Instructions for submitting data‎

Learn about the variables and format you should provide when submitting data to the ABLES program.

Working together

State health departments are encouraged to collaborate to prevent work-related lead exposure.

There are opportunities to work with:

  • other state health departments,
  • Federal agencies, and
  • professional organizations.

Please note that these contacts can assist with work-related lead exposure questions only. If you have other public health-related questions, please contact the CDC Infoline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

CSTE Annual Conference

NIOSH meets with participating states once a year to share ideas at the Annual Conference of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

  1. Most states report all BLLs, elevated or not, which is extremely useful.