LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 15 Number 2, February 2015, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Elizabeth O’Brien, Editorial Team: Yiru Rocky Huang, Michelle Calvert and David Ratcliffe

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The Best Fact Sheets for Lead Workers

Info Pack by Elizabeth O’Brien

To begin, http://www.lead.org.au/lanv4n4/lanv4n4-20.html lists 75 lead exposure occupations – there are probably more today!

I recently asked an egroup for lead poisoning prevention professionals, for the most up-to-date and best information for lead workers. What they sent was so far in advance of anything I've seen from Australia, that I decided to make an Info Pack out of it.

In June 2012, the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a monograph (thousands of pages long) Health Effects of Low-level Lead Evaluation - NTP Monograph on Health Effects of Low-level Lead (June 2012) on ALL the health effects of lead, at http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/hat/noms/lead/index.html  – so I asked for any publications which have incorporated information from this mother lode of NTP information.

Here's what the Occupational Health & Safety Surveillance Program, Division of Environmental Health, Iowa Department of Public Health sent me:



And here's what the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health sent - it was accessible, under the heading "Recommendations for improving the Cal/OSHA Lead Standards" at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/olppp/Pages/LeadStdRecs.aspx when it was updated on 15 February 2013. The most useful direct links are at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/olppp/Documents/LeadStdRecsSummary.pdf and http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/olppp/Documents/LICStdRecsTracked.pdf

They wrote: "We are working to revise the Cal/OSHA lead standards and this worker education piece reflects both our published literature review work and the NTP report: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/olppp/Documents/LeadHazAlert.pdf " You will also find a good (brief) list of health effects at different blood lead levels, in Table 3, from the following:


Reviewing every lead workers blood lead level history, along with any significant workplace changes, is usually required to pinpoint which of the following key factors are at play for all the co-workers of a lead poisoned worker, and which are at play for only one or some of them. The key factors in elevated blood lead levels at work seem to be:

  • concentration of lead in the air
  • are workers required to eat a meal before their shift starts and at regular break time/s during the shift? (an empty stomach absorbs more lead)
  • nutritional status of the worker (iron, calcium or zinc deficiency will increase lead absorption)
  • smoking at work (while in work clothes / before showering, washing hair and changing), will potentially elevate the blood lead twice as much as for a non-smoker in the same work conditions
  • smoking outside of work while wearing clean clothes, or passive smoking will elevate the blood lead somewhat
  • level of respiratory protection (is it all the time? / are filters changed? / are respirators or masks kept clean and face down when not in use?)
  • level of hygiene (is the meal room kept clean? / are facilities available for washing hands and face before breaks? / are work clothes laundered by the company? / do all workers shower including washing their hair before changing into clean clothes to go home?)
  • skin absorption of lead (how is this prevented or minimised?)
  • is any worker being exposed to lead outside of work, by renovating or shooting or doing some other lead hobby?

Feel free to recommend that any worker with a blood lead level above 5 micrograms per decilitre, could usefully fill in the "Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For Occupational Lead Exposure" at http://www.lead.org.au/fs/Medical_Evaluation_For_Lead_Exposure_
and take it to their doctor for follow-up.

Any lead worker/hobbyist is welcome to join our Lead Workers egroup, so that they can discuss their recommendations about doctors or treatments, or ask questions about any aspect of lead exposure at work or hobbies. To join, please go to the Lead Workers link at http://www.lead.org.au/egroups.html

A LEAD Group lab analysis kit (including written interpretation and recommendations) is an invaluable tool both in the workplace and in a worker's home, for determining and eradicating the main sources of lead in the blood of a worker and their family Do It Yourself Lead Safe Test Kits (http://www.leadsafeworld.com/shop).

Finally, The LEAD Group is working on a Lead Results website project, to automate the outflow of free advice aimed at reducing individual blood lead levels, so is keen to help workers with elevated blood lead levels. In the meantime, you can assist us through our Blood Lead Challenge by submitting your blood lead result (ensure that they test for Lead when you take your blood test). In return, you’ll receive individualised advice on how to lower blood lead levels, the least well-known but best-researched predictor of your risks of suffering dementia; osteoporosis; brain ageing and early death. You can report your blood lead level/s by emailing your scanned blood lead result/s with the date of birth (so we can calculate the age in months at the time the blood was taken) at www.lead.org.au/cu.html

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