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Lead exposure among workers renovating a previously deleaded bridge: comparison of trades, work tasks.
Johnson-JC; Reynolds-SJ; Fuortes-LJ; Clarke-WR
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2000 Nov/Dec; 61(6):815-819
Airborne and surface lead exposures were evaluated for construction trade groups at a previously deleaded bridge renovation site in the midwestern United States. Although all lead-based paint should have been removed, old layers of leaded paint were still present on some sections of the bridge. Ironworkers performing metal torch cutting had the highest exposures (188 microg/m3), followed by workers engaged in clean-up operations and paint removal (p < 0.001). Respirators were most frequently worn by workers with the greatest lead exposures; however, laborers performing clean-up operations had exposures to lead dust of 43 microg/m3 and often wore no respiratory protection. Wipe samples revealed that almost all contractor vehicles were contaminated with lead. Heavy equipment operators with low airborne lead exposure had the highest levels of surface contamination in personal vehicles (3,600 microg/m2). Laborers cleaning structural steel with compressed air and ironworkers exposed to lead fumes from cutting had the highest concentrations of lead dust on clothing (mean 4,766 microg/m2). Handwashing facilities were provided, but were infrequently used. No separate clothes changing facility was available at the site. The potential for "take-home" contamination was high, even though this site was thought to be relatively free of lead. Construction contractors and their workers need to be aware that previous deleading of a site may not preclude exposure to significant amounts of lead.
Lead-poisoning; Blood-analysis; Risk-factors; Construction-workers; Humans; Occupational-exposure
Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242
Issue of Publication
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division