Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES)
The ABLES program was created to reduce elevated blood lead levels (BLL) among working adults 16 years or older. ABLES collects BLL data from state programs to examine trends and guide interventions to prevent work-related lead exposures.
Though the rate of high BLLs has decreased, the work to prevent elevated BLLs is far from complete. Many lead-exposed workers may not be tested for lead exposure, or their test results may not be reported to public health authorities. Therefore, ABLES data provide a low estimate of the true magnitude of elevated adult lead exposures in the United States.
How the ABLES Program Makes a Difference
- Monitor workplace lead exposure trends using Worker Health Charts
- State ABLES programs work with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by sharing lead exposure data. OSHA then uses the data to initiate investigations and promote interventions. Learn more about the states that participate in ABLES.
- Based on data from 37 reporting states, ABLES established the 2010 baseline rate (26.4 adults per 100,000 employed adults) for Healthy People 2020 objective to reduce adult lead exposure.external icon
- In 2008, OSHA used ABLES program data to identify industries where elevated BLLs indicated a need for increased focus on evaluating airborne lead exposure when they updated their National Emphasis Program for Lead.
- From 1994 to 2012, a 59% decrease in the national prevalence rates of BLL greater or equal to 25 μg/dL was documented using ABLES surveillance data. In 1994, the rate was 14 employed adults per 100,000, which was reduced to less than 7 in 2012. (See also Data into Action: NIOSH Blood Lead Surveillance Program Contributes to a Decline in National Prevalence Rates).