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When clean is not really clean - results of hand wipe samples for lead.

Burr G; Esswein E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :96
NIOSH investigators conducted a health hazard evaluation at a manufacturer of industrial lead-acid batteries used for motor-powered applications and stationary installations. Workers were concerned about potential health hazards with the manufacture of lead-acid batteries. In addition to air monitoring, a total of 49 hand and surface wipe samples for lead were collected to evaluate the effectiveness of worker hand-washing and identify surface lead contamination in the employee lunchroom. All of the wipe samples were collected by using individually wrapped towelettes according to NIOSH Method 9100. Employees were requested to wipe their hands prior to entering the lunchroom. Another hand-wipe sample was collected immediately following lunch but prior to entering the work area. Surfaces sampled included door handles, a turn-style bar, vending machine push buttons, and a phone handset. A direct-indicating qualitative check for lead contamination on workers hands was also done. The results from hand wipes from workers before lunch was 653 micrograms (ug) of lead per hand wipe, compared to an average of 891 ug of lead per hand wipe after lunch. Additionally, workers from high airborne lead exposure departments had more lead on their hands (even after washing their hands) than the employees working in lower airborne lead exposures areas. The surface wipe sample results ranged from 90 to 750 ug of lead. Employees emerged with more lead on their hands than when they first entered the lunchroom and surface lead was found. Workers were reminded of the potential of getting lead on their hands when they touched contaminated clothing and other articles. Further investigation was recommended to check how thoroughly employees washed their hands and to identify sources of lead contamination in the lunchroom. The qualitative lead check method used in this study would be a useful personal hygiene evaluation technique.
Lead-compounds; Lead-dust; Health-hazards; Lead-poisoning; Workers; Air-monitoring; Sampling
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division