The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Article first published online: 16 JUN 2008
This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America. Published 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 51, Issue 9, pages 691–700, September 2008
How to Cite
Tak, S., Roscoe, R. J., Alarcon, W., Ju, J., Sestito, J. P., Sussell, A. L. and Calvert, G. M. (2008), Characteristics of US workers whose blood lead levels trigger the medical removal protection provision, and conformity with biological monitoring requirements, 2003–2005. Am. J. Ind. Med., 51: 691–700. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20603
This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.
- Issue published online: 4 AUG 2008
- Article first published online: 16 JUN 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 MAY 2008
- adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance;
- blood lead level;
- medical removal protection;
- biological monitoring;
- medical surveillance
Workers with blood lead levels (BLL) ≥60 µg/dl (50 µg/dl for construction workers) or with three or more consecutive BLLs over at least 6 months that average 50 µg/dl or greater are required to be removed from work involving lead exposure that exceeds the OSHA action level. This study estimates the proportion of workers with BLLs that trigger the medical removal provision by industry sector, and examines whether workers received appropriate follow-up blood lead testing.
Three years (2003–2005) of data from the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program were analyzed to identify those industries with a high percentage of workers with BLLs that trigger the medical removal provision. Adjusted rate ratios (RR) of adults with such BLLs were estimated by industry sector compared to the battery manufacturing industry using Poisson regression models.
Out of 13,724 adults with BLLs ≥25 µg/dl, a total of 533 adults had BLLs that triggered the medical removal provision. RRs of adults with BLLs triggering medical removal were highest for “painting and wall covering contractors” (RR = 22.1) followed by “highway, street and bridge construction” (RR = 14.7), “amusement, gambling, and recreation” (RR = 11.4), and “glass product manufacturing” (RR = 10.1). Overall, 29% of adults with BLLs triggering medical removal received appropriate follow-up blood lead tests and met the eligibility to return to lead work.
These findings suggest that additional efforts are needed to prevent occupational overexposure to lead in adults, and to ensure proper medical management of those workers who meet medical removal criteria. Am. J. Ind. Med. 51:691–700, 2008. Published 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.