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Lead contamination in automobiles of lead-exposed bridgeworkers.
Piacitelli GM; Whelan EA; Ewers LM; Sieber WK
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1995 Oct; 10(10):849-855
An effort was made to determine take home lead (7439921) exposures during lead based paint abatement. Dust samples were collected from cars of 27 workers involved in the repainting of a bridge over the Thames River in Connecticut. The workers also completed questionnaires regarding personal hygiene practices, frequency of car cleaning, and eating and smoking habits inside the car. Blood lead tests were performed. Atomic absorption spectrophotometry following NIOSH Method 7082 was used to analyze sample lead concentrations. Surface wipes on interior surfaces showed the highest lead levels on the driver's floor and armrest, with mean concentrations of 1,900 and 1,100 microgram/square meter (microg/m2), respectively. The mean lead concentrations for other surfaces were found to be below 500microg/m2. A statistically significant difference was observed only between lead levels on the driver's floor and on the steering wheel, which had a mean level of 240microg/m2. Blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 17micrograms/deciliter. A significant correlation was found between lead blood levels and steering wheel lead concentrations. Lead levels determined by a vacuum method found the highest lead levels for industrial hygiene/safety officers and the lowest levels for blasters/painters. No significant differences were seen between jobs or exposure groups. Of the workers in the low exposure group, 25% wore company supplied clothing and either changed or showered before going home, and 50% took their work shoes home. All workers in the high exposure group wore company clothes and changed before going home, with 90% also showering before going home. None of the high exposure workers took their shoes home. The authors conclude that failure to shower and change clothes and shoes led to significantly increased levels of lead in workers' vehicles.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-exposure; Lead-dust; Work-clothing; Blood-tests; Dust-sampling; Industrial-hygiene; Work-practices; Heavy-metals
W. Karl Sieber, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division