Georgia Publishes New Resources on Lead Exposures
New resources on lead exposures and the prevention of lead poisoning from the Georgia Department of Public Health emphasize actions workers can take to reduce exposure to lead for themselves and their families. The resources urge workers to shower, wash their hands, and change their clothes after working with lead, to wash work clothes separately, to wear personal protective equipment when working with lead, and never to eat or drink in areas where lead is being handled or processed. Separate publications address workers at shooting ranges and in battery manufacturing, scrap metal recycling, and electronic waste recycling.
According to the most recent data available from NIOSH’s Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program, in 2016 nearly a quarter (24 percent) of employed Georgia residents had blood lead levels greater than 10 µg/dL, the fourth-highest rate among the 26 states reporting data to ABLES. Missouri had the highest rate with 84.1 percent, followed by Iowa with 43 percent and Ohio with 26.7 percent. Georgia also had the fourth-highest rate of employed residents with BLLs greater than 25 µg/dL with 5 percent, following Missouri (13.7 percent), Iowa (8.1 percent) and Wisconsin (5.1 percent).
NIOSH considers a BLL greater than 5 µg/dL of whole blood in a venous blood sample to be “elevated.” The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults reduce their BLLs to less than 10 µg/dL.
The new resources are available from the Georgia Department of Public Health website. Readers can download PDFs of publications on lead exposures at work, general information related to take-home lead exposures, the potential for take-home exposures to harm children, lead poisoning at shooting ranges, and recognizing lead hazards in battery manufacturing, scrap metal recycling, and electronic waste recycling. A separate resource addresses healthcare professionals.