Lead exposures among welders at a construction site.
Hales-TR; McCammon-C; Daniels-W; Lee-S
American Public Health Association 123rd Annual Meeting and Exhibition, San Diego, CA, October 29 - November 2, 1995. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 1995 Oct; :225
A cross-sectional study of lead exposures and health effects was conducted among 17 lead welders at a Utah construction site. Airborne exposure to lead was assessed during each of the employee's three job tasks (grinding, tinning, bonding). Surface contamination was assessed in the workers' break room, on their clothing, and in their automobiles. Health effects were assessed by symptoms questionnaires, physical examinations, and blood lead levels (BLL). Mean personal-breathing zone (PBZ) lead levels for the grinding, tinning, and bonding tasks were 32, 287, and 260 ug/m3, respectively. The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for airborne lead is 50 ug/m3. Wipe samples revealed low levels of lead contamination in the break room <1 ug/cm2), with slightly higher levels on workers' non-work clothing and automobiles (both <5 ug/cm2). All 17 lead welders were white: men with a mean age and seniority of 38 and 15 years, respectively. None of the employees reported symptoms of lead poisoning or had lead lines on their gums. The mean BLL (36 ug/dl) was markedly elevated compared to the levels for the general population (<5 ug/dl). Four of the 17 (24%) had BLL >50 ug/dl levels potentially requiring medical removal under the OSHA lead standard. Within one month of this survey, the company: 1) initiated additional engineering controls, 2) reassigned employees with BLL > 50 ug/dl to tasks not involving lead exposure, 3) enhanced the respirator program, and 4) provided additional hygiene measures (e.g.. lockers, shower facilities, etc.).
Statistical-analysis; Lead-absorption; Lead-dust; Lead-poisoning; Grinding-mills; Exposure-limits; Exposure-assessment; Blood-analysis; Heavy-metals
Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
American Public Health Association 123rd Annual Meeting and Exhibition, San Diego, CA, October 29 - November 2, 1995