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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2007 Aug;4(8):539-46.

Survey of current lead use, handling, hygiene, and contaminant controls among New Jersey industries.

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  • 1New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services-Occupational Health Surveillance, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360, USA.


In 2003, a chemical handling and use survey was mailed to New Jersey employers identified as currently using lead in their industrial processes. This survey was used to ascertain characteristics about lead use, handling, and protection of employees during manufacturing operations. The survey included a diverse group of current lead users with a total lead use range from less than 1 pound to more than 63 million pounds of lead per year. The survey allowed for a comprehensive characterization of hazards and protective measures associated with this metal, still commonly used in many products and industrial processes. Forty-five surveys were returned by companies that are listed in the New Jersey Adult Blood Lead Registry, which is part of the New Jersey Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program. This program records and investigates cases of adults with greater than 25 mu g/dL of lead in their blood; most cases are related to occupational exposures. This survey found that greater than 25% of these surveyed companies with significant potential for lead exposure did not employ commonly used and basic industrial hygiene practices. In addition, the survey found that 24% of these companies had not conducted air sampling within the last 3 years. Air sampling is the primary trigger for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) general industry lead standard. Only 17% of the companies have ever been cited for a violation of the OSHA lead standard, and only 46% of these companies have ever had an OSHA inspection. State-based surveillance can be a useful tool for OSHA enforcement activities. Elevated blood lead values in adults should be considered as a trigger for required compliance with an OSHA general industry lead standard.

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