Lead exposure in radiator repair workers: a survey of Washington State radiator repair shops and review of Occupational Lead Exposure Registry data.
J Occup Environ Med 2003 Jul; 45(7):724-733
Radiator repair workers in Washington State have the greatest number of very elevated (> or =60 microg/dL) blood lead levels of any other worker population. The goals of this study were to determine the number of radiator repair workers potentially exposed to lead; estimate the extent of blood lead data underreporting to the Occupational Lead Exposure Registry; describe current safety and health practices in radiator repair shops; and determine appropriate intervention strategies to reduce exposure and increase employer and worker awareness. Lead exposure in Washington State's radiator repair workers was assessed by reviewing Registry data and conducting a statewide survey of radiator repair businesses. This study revealed that a total of 226 workers in Washington State (including owner-operators and all employees) conduct repair activities that could potentially result in excessive exposures to lead. Approximately 26% of radiator repair workers with elevated blood lead levels (> or =25 microg/dL) were determined to report to Washington State's Registry. This study also revealed a lack of awareness of lead's health effects, appropriate industrial hygiene controls, and the requirements of the Lead Standard. Survey respondents requested information on a variety of workplace health and safety issues and waste management; 80% requested a confidential, free-of-charge consultation. Combining data derived from an occupational health surveillance system and a statewide mail survey proved effective at characterizing lead exposures and directing public health intervention in Washington State.
Occupational-exposure; Lead-compounds; Repair-shops; Blood-sampling; Workers; Safety-practices; Occupational-health; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Industrial-hygiene; Worker-health; Surveillance-programs; Public-health; Lead-poisoning; Motor-vehicles
Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Department of Labor & Industries, PO Box 44330, Olympia, WA 98504-4330, USA
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries