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  QUESTION: In Nuclear Medicine the technologist uses lead pots to carry the isotopes, 04 Oct 2006, Queensland Australia

In Nuclear Medicine the technologist use lead pots to carry the isotopes in.... most lead pots are chrome plated but what if they are not...... is this an issue?
ANSWER: 04 Oct 2006

Dear Steve,

We've just received a response to your enquiry that I passed on to our Technical Advisory Board. Prof Chris Winder has written: "Lead from handling lead metal (for example, handling lead pots) is not usually available in high enough quantities to pose a problem (even less if they are encapsulated in a suitable material - I didn't know lead could be plated with chromium)."
Prof Winder is a co-author of the attached general advice on protecting workers from lead so I hope this answers your question.

I am also attaching some recent articles:

  1. 'Safe' levels of lead may not be that safe after all Los Angeles Times, October 02, 2006, Melissa Healy. Times Staff Writer
  2. Blood Lead Levels and Death from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: Results from the NHANES III Mortality Study Susan E. Schober, Lisa B. Mirel, Barry I. Graubard, Debra J. Brody, and Katherine M. Flegal. Environ Health Perspect. 2006 October; 114(10): 1538–1541. Published online 2006 July 6
  3. Lead in Blood: 'Safe' Levels Too High? Average Americans Tested Had Level High Enough for Increased Heart Disease Death Risk, By Miranda Hitti, WebMD Health News. Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD. Sept. 18, 2006
  4. Research Indicates that Low Blood Lead Levels Contribute to Early Death from Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer. Alliance Alert, August 2006

These four articles are all about the effects of even low blood lead levels in adults, so, taken together, I trust that you can find a way to bring down and maintain staff blood lead level/s preferably below 2.0 micrograms per decilitre ie 2.0 µg/dL (equivalent to 0.1 micromoles per litre ie 0.1 µmol/L).

Do you know the current blood lead level/s? Do staff handle the pots wearing gloves or barrier creams? Are staff permitted to smoke at work?

Lead workers are very welcome to join our LeadWorkers egroup to discuss all issues related to working with lead and management of lead exposure etc. You can join at and then start posting your questions to the group!
Yours Sincerely
Elizabeth O'Brien

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