The initial impact of a workplace lead-poisoning prevention project.
Am J Publ Health 1993 Mar; 83(3):406-410
The initial impact of a lead (7439921) (Pb) poisoning prevention project undertaken in California was assessed. A total of 275 radiator service companies in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties were selected. The intervention program focused on three areas: identification of companies; developing and marketing resources to facilitate employer generated lead poisoning prevention activities; and maintenance of regular contact with each company to stimulate and monitor progress. Of the 275 companies enrolled, 23 dropped out. Of the remaining 252, 247 repaired used radiators, and five manufactured new radiators or cores. Of 495 individuals who participated in the blood Pb tests, 109 were owners and managers. Results showed that blood Pb levels increased in all participants during the study period (range 0.05 to 4.93 micromoles per liter (micromol/l). Radiator repairers had the highest levels (median of 1.35micromol/l). Levels of 1.93micromol/l or higher were reported for 69 individuals including 54 radiator repair workers (22% of those tested). Blood Pb levels were slightly higher for older workers, but did not vary significantly with length of current employment. Of 218 individuals tested as having Pb levels of 1.21micromol/l or higher, concurrent Registry reports were received for 162 (74%), and were identical in the two data sources for 93% of the cases. Air monitoring of six companies showed maximum airborne exposures of 9 to 97 microgram per cubic meter. Compliance with worker protection measures increased from 9% to 95% during the project. The authors conclude that Pb exposures are inadequately controlled in the Southern California radiator service industry. Current surveillance systems seriously undercount the number of affected workers.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Lead-poisoning; Epidemiology; Occupational-exposure; Automobile-repair-shops; Biological-monitoring; Industrial-hygiene
Jim Bellows, MPH, State Compensation Insurance Fund, 1275 Market St, Room 630, San Francisco, CA 94103
American Journal of Public Health