Occupational Exposure to Lead

The continued occurrence of overexposure to occupational lead and lead poisoning in the United States remains a serious problem despite awareness of its adverse health effects. Lead exposure is arguably the oldest known occupational health hazard. It is a particularly insidious hazard with the potential for causing irreversible health effects, including central nervous system problems, anemia and diminished hearing acuity before it is clinically recognized. Some of the highest worker exposures recently documented were associated with bridge painting including a contractor cited by OSHA for overexposures to workers at a bridge painting projects at three sites in Pennsylvania resulting in fines of over $450,000. This despite the infamous Smalis Painting case in which the contractor was fined over $5,000,000 in the early 1990's.

CIH Services has provided support to many clients with potential for occupational lead exposures in industries ranging from manufacturing (glass, plastics, bronze, steel), transportation, utilities, construction, demolition, semiconductor, and coatings. One project completed for GE Railcar involved air monitoring (personal and area), surface wipe testing, bulk sampling, tape lift, and microvacuum sampling in the workplace, break rooms, and locker rooms as well as employee vehicles and homes. Based on the results of this extensive data set of sample results, a comprehensive lead management program was developed and implemented.