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Technical Assistance Report No. TA-80-099-859, Tobin-Mystic River Bridge, Boston, Massachusetts.

Landrigan PJ; Straub W; Stein GF; Baker EL
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, TA 80-099-859, 1981 Apr; :1-23
Environmental air and soil samples, and blood specimens from workers and area residents were analyzed for lead (7439921) at the Tobin Mystic River Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts on July 20 to 25, August 13 to 14, and September 10, 1980. A representative of the Greater Boston Legal Services requested the evaluation to determine possible occupational and community health hazards resulting from the removal of lead based paint from the bridge. Personal lead air samples for grit blasters ranged from 10 to 1,090 micrograms per cubic meter (micrograms/CuM), compared with the NIOSH recommended standard of 50 micrograms/CuM. Blood lead concentrations in 13 grit blasters ranged from 25 to 47 micrograms per deciliter (microgram/dl). Center span workers were exposed to air lead concentrations of 6 to 1,017 micrograms/CuM. Blood lead concentrations in 19 center span workers ranged from 30 to 96 microgram/dl. Five center span workers had symptoms of lead poisoning. Community air lead concentrations 27 meters from the bridge ranged from 2.7 to 12.9 micrograms/CuM compared with the Environmental Protection Agency standard of 1.5 micrograms/CuM. Surface soil lead concentrations averaged 3,272 parts per million (ppm) within 100 feet of the bridge, 457 ppm at 100 to 250 feet, and 197 ppm beyond 250 feet. Four of 123 children had blood lead concentrations above 30 micrograms/dl. The authors conclude that paint removal from the bridge has caused increased occupational and environmental lead exposure in the area. They recommend closer attention to environmental controls for paint removal operations, daily wet sweeping of contaminated areas, removal of contaminated soil, improved work practices, medical monitoring of workers and affected community residents, and the possible removal of children and pregnant women from areas within two blocks of grit blasting operations.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; TA-80-099-859; Hazards-Confirmed; Region-1; Heavy-metals; Environmental-contamination;
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division