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Occupational and environmental lead and PCB exposure at a scrap metal dealer.
Environ Res 1995 Jul; 70(1):20-23
Blood testing for lead (7439921) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was conducted in workers at two adjacent scrap metal companies in New Jersey. The site was contaminated with lead and PCBs, and had been placed on the EPA National Priorities List for cleanup. A questionnaire about work history and risk factors for lead exposure was completed by workers, and blood samples were collected at the work site. Seventeen workers participated. Blood lead levels ranged from 4.0 to 39.8 micrograms/deciliter, with a mean of 19.9 micrograms/deciliter. Blood levels in four (24%) of workers exceeded 25 micrograms/deciliter. PCB levels ranged from less than 1.0 to 65.3 parts per billion. Blood lead levels were correlated with age and number of cigarettes smoked at work. Workers involved in sorting tasks had the highest blood lead levels, and workers who operated press machines had the highest PCB levels. Eating lunch in the lunchroom was associated with lower lead and PCB levels. The authors conclude that worker blood lead levels indicate increased lead exposure, and further research is needed to determine the extent of lead exposure in this occupation.
NIOSH-Author; Humans; Occupational-exposure; Workplace-studies; Heavy-metals; Polychlorinated-biphenyls; Blood-analysis; Metal-workers; Cigarette-smoking; Environmental-contamination
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Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division