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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-87-371-2000, Technical Assistance to the Jamaican Ministry of Health, Kingston, Jamaica.

Matte TD; Burr GA
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 87-371-2000, 1989 Dec; :1-31
In response to a request from the Jamaican Ministry of Health, a study was made of possible health hazards existing due to the operation of a secondary lead smelter (SIC-3341) in Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica. Emission controls at the site were upgraded in 1974. A cottage industry of clandestine backyard smelters was also in operation in the area. The survey investigated the health of residents in 58 households in the Red Pond Road community and 21 households in Ebony Vale. Soil (7439921) lead levels in Red Pond exceeded 500 parts per million at 24% of the households tested. Ten paint samples taken from Red Pond homes exceeded 1% lead by weight. The geometric mean blood lead level of those tested in Red Pond was more than twice the level found in those tested in Ebony Vale. Forty four percent of the children under 6 years of age in Red Pond had blood lead levels above 25 micrograms/deciliter. Soil lead contamination was the strongest predictor of blood lead levels among the Red Pond subjects under 12 years of age. Lead smelter work was an important predictor in the older subjects. The authors conclude that the backyard smelters in combination with the secondary smelter caused a high lead poisoning risk for area residents. The authors recommend that residents stop the backyard smelting operations, and that efforts be made to reduce exposure through hazard abatement, education, and establishment of clean play areas for children.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-87-371-2000; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-3; Lead-smelting; Smelters; Environmental-contamination; Biological-monitoring; Cottage-industries; Heavy-metals; Author Keywords: Secondary Smelting and Refining of Nonferrous Metals; lead; blood lead; smelting; soil contamination; children; developing countries
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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: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division