Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES)

Lead exposure is an ongoing health problem in U.S. workplaces. NIOSH’s ABLES program examines U.S. trends in adult workplace lead exposure to identify where exposures occur. ABLES helps state health departments monitor workplace lead exposure trends within their state and find ways to prevent these lead exposures.

Lead exposure causes short-term and long-term health effects.

It can affect many organ systems, ranging from changes in function to death.

Even at low doses, lead exposure can cause:

Heart and kidney problems

Heart and kidney problems

Problems with thinking (mental dysfunction)

Problems with thinking (mental dysfunction)

Reproductive health and pregnancy problems

Reproductive health and pregnancy problems

There is no safe level of lead exposure.

Lead exposure occurs in four main industries.

  • Manufacturing (e.g., Battery manufacturing)
  • Construction (e.g., Highway, street and bridge construction)
  • Services (e.g., Automotive, mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance)
  • Mining (e.g., Lead and zinc ore mining)

Learn more about ABLES activities by contacting Rebecca Tsai, PhD (rtsai@cdc.gov).

Page last reviewed: February 23, 2021