Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0153-2997, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, Markham Park, Sunrise, Florida.
On March 2, 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential union request for a health hazard evaluation at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida. The request concerned potential exposure to lead, arsenic, pesticides, herbicides, and cleaning chemicals. Employees were concerned about lead exposure from the Park's shooting range and from old painted signs. Arsenic exposure was a concern due to the reported use of an arsenic containing ant-killer and chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber. Two employees had reportedly been diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning. On July 5-6, 2005, NIOSH investigators conducted surface wipe samples for lead in and around the shooting ranges, and from the hands of shooting range personnel. All workers were invited to participate in medical testing, which included an interview and collection of blood and urine specimens for lead and arsenic, respectively. Surface wipe sampling for lead on table and floor surfaces in the shooting range revealed lead levels ranging from 94.7 micrograms lead per 100 square centimeters (mcg/100 cm2) to 519.7 mcg lead/100 cm2. Lead levels on table and floor surfaces in the firing range clubhouse were approximately 10 times lower (range: 9.3 mcg/100 cm2 to 55.7 mcg lead/100 cm2). Surface lead levels in the recreation areas of the clubhouse were the lowest (5.3 mcg lead/100 cm2 on the picnic table in the clubhouse covered patio area and 1.7 mcg lead/100 cm2 on the floor of the clubhouse conference room). Lead levels on the hands of two range attendants ranged from 27.7 to 88.7 mcg lead. No federal standards for lead contamination of surfaces in occupational settings exist. Of 19 employees, 11 volunteered for medical evaluation (interview and specimen collection) while four other employees provided interviews only. None had elevated urinary inorganic arsenic levels. Four of the range employees had minimally elevated blood lead levels and all others were nondetectable. None of the interviewed employees described adverse health effects they considered work related aside from possible heat stress and hearing loss. At the time of this site visit, arsenic did not present a health hazard. There was evidence of minimal exposures to lead for the firing range staff but not for the groundskeeping staff. The presence of lead on the hands of range attendants highlights the importance of proper personal hygiene practices, as hand-to-mouth ingestion of lead dust could be the cause of the low levels of lead detected in the blood of some of the range staff. Recommendations are made regarding employee training, proper handling of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber, proper range housekeeping, proper storage and handling of onsite chemicals, and further evaluation of heat stress and noise exposures.