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Surveillance for occupational lead poisoning, state of Washington 1993-2001: incorporating data from May 15, 1993 through June 30, 2001.
Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, 44-3-2001, 2001 Dec; :1-73
This report summarizes the reporting of adult blood lead levels (BLLs) from May 1993 through June 30, 2001 to the Occupational Lead Exposure Registry (Registry). The Registry is maintained by the Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). The Registry's purpose is to track lead exposure in Washington workers and promote activities that prevent lead overexposure and poisoning in Washington workers. Through June of2001, the Registty database received 46,291 reports of blood lead levels (BLLs) from 32,049 individuals. Although most BLLs are in line with the national goal to keep workers' blood lead levels under 25 ug/dl, approximately 3% of the cases, representing 1092 individuals, had elevated BLLs. The extent of case follow-up is determined by the individual's BLL, with the highest levels receiving the greatest amount and most individualized follow-up. In this period, 763 individuals with elevated BLLs were mailed educational materials concerning the health effects of lead overexposure and ways to prevent it. Case interviews were completed for 171 individuals. Follow-up efforts also extend to the case's health care provider and employer. While the total number of BLL, reports submitted to the Registry has increased steadily since 1993, the number of elevated BLL reports has been decreasing over time. This finding has important public health implications, and may reflect increased public awareness about the hazards of lead, greater implementation of public and workforce control measures, and/or a general decrease in ambient environmental lead. The SHARP Program believes that surveillance data should not be collected merely to document overexposures or health effects. These data should be used to target exposed workers and industries for public health intervention. Consequently, this report describes a novel approach to setting intervention priorities for lead-using industries (the Prevention Index) and discusses the limitations of relying solely on cumulative numbers (frequencies) of elevated BLL reports. In summary, the data collected through Registry activities serve a vital role in the surveillance of occupational lead overexposure and poisoning in Washington State and contributes to national surveillance efforts. No other agency in Washington State collects information on adult BLLs. The information has helped the SHARP Program identify industries and occupations in which workers are experiencing overexposures to lead so that prevention efforts can be directed appropriately.
Workers; Work-environment; Lead-compounds; Blood-samples; Blood-analysis; Exposure-levels; Public-health; Poisons; Preventive-medicine; Statistical-analysis
SHARP Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, PO Box 44330, Olympia, WA 98504-4330
Surveillance for occupational lead poisoning, state of Washington 1993-2001: incorporating data from May 15, 1993 through June 30, 2001
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division