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HHE determination report no. HHE-77-28-552, Delco Battery Plant, Muncie, Indiana, December 1978.

Thoburn TW; Belanger PL
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 77-28-552, 1978 Dec; :1-77
Personal and environmental lead (7439921) samples were collected at the Delco Battery Company (SIC-3691) in Muncie, Indiana on February 16 to 17, March 21 to 23, April 4 to 6, and August 25 to 27, 1977. The evaluation was requested by a representative of Local 489, United Autoworkers of America on behalf of approximately 600 affected employees. The workers expressed concern that the company's medical evaluation program was inadequate and was underestimating personal lead exposures. Environmental sampling was conducted in eight departments and employees were given medical questionnaires and examinations. Environmental lead concentrations ranged from 0.01 to 0.30 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). In five of the eight departments, lead concentrations exceeded the proposed OSHA standard of 0.10mg/m3; three of the five exceeded the current standard of 0.20mg/m3. Blood samples taken during the medical examination were sent to three different laboratories, including the one used by Delco; no clinical or statistical difference was found between the lead values determined by the three laboratories. Zinc protoporphyrin values gave a general indication of blood lead concentrations but could not be substituted for actual blood lead determinations. The questionnaires revealed many work related health complaints among the employees. Workers with complaints had higher mean blood lead values than those without complaints, but the higher lead value was not diagnostic. Heavy smokers had greater blood lead concentrations than nonsmokers. The authors conclude that the company medical program provides adequate lead monitoring measures. They recommend that smoking and the carrying of smoking or eating materials in lead exposure areas be prohibited, that air and blood lead concentrations be reduced to current NIOSH exposure standards, and that instruction in the use of respirators be provided. Recommendations for the assessment of medical problems and refinement of certain procedures are also provided.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-77-28-552; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Storage-batteries; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-5; Air-contamination; Metallic-poisons; Heavy-metals; Hematology; Blood-tests; Standards; Control-methods; Clinical-tests; Author Keywords: lead; blood lead; BLL; urinary lead; battery; zinc protoporphyrin; ZPP
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Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: December 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division