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Worker lead exposures during renovation of homes with lead-based paint.
Sussell A; Gittleman J; Singal M
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1998 Nov; 13(11):770-775
We evaluated lead exposures among full-time home renovators and part-time volunteers working primarily in pre-1960 homes with lead-based paint. Potentially hazardous lead exposures were measured during two tasks: exterior dry scraping and wet scraping. Maximum exposures were 120 and 63 ug/m3, respectively. Exposures during other tasks, including general repair, weatherization, exterior scraping/painting (mostly applying new paint), window replacement, demolition, and plumbing, were low (range 0.1 to 16 ug/m3), as were all 13 full-shift personal exposures [geometric mean (GM) = 3.6 ug/m3; range 0.2 to 12 ug/m3]. Blood lead levels for full-time workers ranged up to 17.5 ug/dl, with a GM of 5.2 ug/dl; the GM for volunteers was 3.2 ug/dl. All of the paint samples collected from work surfaces had detectable amounts of lead (GM = 1.05%), with 65 percent (32) of the work surfaces tested having an average lead concentration of >0.5 percent. Paired sampling results indicate that chemical spot test kits, when used by industrial hygienists, are highly sensitive (100% positive) in screening for high levels (>9%) of lead in painted work surfaces, and somewhat less so (88% positive) for lower lead levels (>0.5%). Mean paint lead concentrations were well correlated with mean worker exposures during renovation, both by house (r=0.875) and by work surface (r=0.898). Average surface lead loadings measured on floors in homes undergoing renovation (2045 ug/ft2) and in full-time workers' vehicles (GM=310 ug/ft2) were potentially hazardous to young children.
Lead compounds; Occupational exposure; Paints; Painting; Environmental factors; Environmental exposure; Exposure levels; Blood analysis; Sampling; Industrial hygienists; Occupational hazards; Hazards; Painters
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division