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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2004 Feb;1(2):119-25.

Lead and methylene chloride exposures among automotive repair technicians.

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  • 1Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Pollution Prevention Program, Office of Technical and Customer Assistance, Providence, Rhode Island 02908, USA.


Potential exposures among repair technicians engaged in vehicle resurfacing operations prior to spray painting have not been thoroughly characterized. Environmental and personal air monitoring conducted in the State of Rhode Island have shown that automotive repair technicians may be exposed to metal particulates in sanding dust and methylene chloride vapors during vehicle paint removal operations. Hand wipe samples demonstrated that metals in sanding dust adhered to the hands of workers throughout the duration of the work day and were available for incidental ingestion from the handling of food/nonfood items and hand-to-mouth contact. A blood lead (PbB) screening effort among 21 workers at 2 facilities showed that 4 non-/less-exposed workers had mean PbB levels at the U.S. geometric mean of 2.8 microg/dL, while 2 out of 9 (22%) dedicated vehicle repair technicians had PbB levels at or above 30 microg Pb/dL whole blood--the level for potential adverse reproductive effects. Methylene chloride exposures were also found to exceed the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA) 8-hr time-weighted average (TWA) action level and permissible exposure limit (PEL) in a limited number of samples (120 and 26 ppm, integrated work shift samples). Our findings suggest that thousands of professional technicians and vocational high school students may be at increased risk of adverse reproductive and/or other systemic effects.

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