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Occupational lead poisoning, animal deaths, and environmental contamination at a scrap smelter.
Levine RJ; Moore RM Jr.; McLaren GD; Barthel WF; Landrigan PJ
Am J Public Health 1976 Jun; 66(6):548-552
Occupational lead (7439921) poisoning and environmental contamination were evaluated at a lead scrap smelter. Thirty of 37 employees (81 percent) had blood lead levels of over 80 micrograms per 100 milliliters, indicating unacceptable absorption, and 35 had free erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels over 60 micrograms per 100 milliliters packed red blood cells, indication toxicity of lead on heme metabolism in red blood cells; eight current and previous employees had been hospitalized with lead colic, and another with encephalopathy. Levels of lead in surface soil (1,800ppm) and vegetation (20,000ppm) at the smelter were high and decreased with distance. Animals on nearby pasture had died, and lead levels in the blood, milk, and hair of large and small animals were elevated. Adults living within 100 meters of the smelter had higher blood and hair lead levels than controls, who lived at greater distances, but there was no evidence in them of lead toxicity.
NIOSH-Author; Heavy-metals; Hazards; Industrial-emission-sources; Lead-reclaiming; Biological-sampling; Recovery; Refining; Soil-pollution; Toxic-substances; Smelters; Nervous-system-disorders; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Environment; Blood-chemistry; Metal-scrap; Smelting
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Public Health
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division