NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Lead intoxication associated with chewing plastic wire coating - Ohio.
Kelley M; Walson P; Thorton D; Halpin TJ
MMWR 1993 Jun; 42(24):465-467
A venous blood lead (7439921) level of 50 micrograms/deciliter (microg/dl) was detected in a 46 year old man during a routine preemployment study. He reported no exposure to known sources of lead but he did report numbness of his fingers and palms, tinnitus, and a possible decrease in his skill at arithmetical calculations. He had been working for about 20 years as a microwave technician during military service and at a television station, but had no history of lead exposure. No activities or hobbies suggested any exposure either. His home had been built after the ban for lead paint was in place and although he drank well water, so did other members of his family and none of them had elevated lead levels. He was treated with dimercaptosuccinic-acid in March, and his blood lead level decreased to 13microg/dl on April 4. However, by May 15 his level was 49microg/dl and by July 23 it was 56microg/dl. He reported at this time that he had a habit of chewing on the plastic insulation that he stripped off the ends of electrical wires for about 20 years. The colored coatings on these wires were found to contain 10,000 to 39,000 micrograms of lead per gram of coating. He was told to break this habit and a neuropsychiatric test was planned. An editorial note discussed the use of lead compounds in colored plastic products and polyvinyl-chloride plastic products. Although ingestion of lead from plastic coatings may be an uncommon source of lead exposure, workers would be warned of the potential hazard.
NIOSH-Author; Lead-poisoning; Blood-analysis; Heavy-metals; Electrical-workers; Plastics; Electrical-insulation; Humans
Issue of Publication
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division