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Lead contamination in radiator repair shops.

Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1993 May; 8(5):434-438
Breathing zone samples were collected in three radiator repair shops in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and analyzed for lead (7439921). Wipe and other environmental samples were collected and analyzed for lead- sulfide (1314870). Information on work volume in the shops was collected. Engineering controls used in the shops to control lead emissions were investigated. The average number of radiators repaired daily in each shop varied from five to 15. Shop-A and shop- B used local ventilation or ventilated enclosures at their work stations. Shop-C had no local exhaust ventilation; a single wall fan located 15 feet from the two work stations and a ceiling fan were the only engineering controls used. Breathing zone lead exposures in shop-A and shop- B were below 50 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3), the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL). The highest concentration measured during a brief period of soldering was 7.1microg/m3. In shop-C, all breathing zone lead exposures were above the PEL, the overall average being 200microg/m3. The highest measured exposure was 810microg/m3. The 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) breathing zone lead exposures in shop-A and shop-C were generally below 10microg/m3. In shop-C, all five TWA exposures were above 40microg/m3, the OSHA action level, and two were above the PEL. Wipe sampling found excessive surface lead contamination in all shops. Lead-sulfide concentrations above 10,000 micrograms/square meter (microg/m2) were found in 29% of samples. Lead-sulfide concentrations as high as 500,000microg/m2 were found in areas where radiators were being disassembled or reassembled. Lead-sulfide concentrations as high as 78,050microg/m2 were found on the workers unwashed hands. Concentrations up to 6,000microg/m2 were found on their foreheads. The author concludes that radiator repair work is associated with an elevated risk of lead poisoning. Hand, facial, and work surface contamination may be a significant source of lead contamination. Radiator repair work may also present a significant risk of lead poisoning for families of workers as they can carry lead home on their skin and clothing.
NIOSH-Author; Heavy-metals; Occupational-exposure; Automobile-repair-shops; Industrial-hygiene; Control-methods; Exhaust-ventilation; Environmental-contamination; Workplace-studies
7439-92-1; 1314-87-0
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Tharr D
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division