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Elevated blood lead levels in adults: a reportable occupational disease in Texas.
Martin-J; Honchar-PA; Alexander-CE
Tex Med 1987 Jun; 83(6):54-59
The health effects resulting from lead (7439921) (Pb) exposure in adults were described with regard to the 1985 Texas Occupational Disease Reporting Act which required doctors and laboratories to report blood Pb levels in adults in excess of 1.93 micromoles per liter. Exposure to Pb resulted in the gradual accumulation of Pb in a variety of tissues including a rapidly exchangeable pool of Pb in the blood and soft tissues, a moderately exchangeable pool of Pb in skin and muscles, and a relatively stable pool of Pb in the skeleton. Clinical symptoms were frequently nonspecific including fatigue, malaise, memory deficit, headache, irritability, anemia, and peripheral neuropathy. The authors note that all persons are exposed to Pb, and that Pb exposure has decreased with decreased gasoline Pb content. Pb measurement in blood samples provided an indication of the amount of Pb recently absorbed. Measurement of zinc-protoporphyrin (ZPP) levels by hematofluorometry provided values of the total body Pb burden. Pb is used in the manufacture of lead storage batteries, cable and wire products, ammunition, pipes, pewter, lead glazed pottery, crystal glass, pigments, gasoline antiknock additives, weather resistant coatings. Other occupations with high Pb exposure include scrap operations, grinding operations, repair or demolition of lead painted steel, automobile radiator repair shops, and firing instructors at indoor firing ranges. A comprehensive list of occupations at risk of exposure to inorganic Pb was included. The authors recommend available methods for controlling Pb exposure in the workplace which include enclosing work processes, adequate ventilation, personal protective equipment, and worker education be used throughout these occupations.
NIOSH-Author; Worker-health; Metal-compounds; Lead-compounds; Metallic-poisoning; Heavy-metals; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Environmental-exposure; Industrial-hygiene
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division