NIOSH Investigates Lead, Other Exposures at a Police Department

Published September 5, 2013

NIOSH staff assessed exposures to lead and other chemicals at a police department after receiving a request from employees who were concerned about lead exposures in and around the facility’s firing range, a history of mold growth in second-floor offices, and lack of ventilation in the illicit drug storage room. During the investigation, NIOSH identified problems in the firing range ventilation system and found lead contamination in the police department parking garage, with the firing range as the main source of the contamination. In addition, one employee had an elevated blood lead level along with clinical signs consistent with lead toxicity, which NIOSH notes were likely caused by lead exposure in the workplace. The agency recommended not using the firing range until it has been redesigned to meet the recommended design elements listed in the NIOSH Alert, “Preventing Occupational Exposures to Lead and Noise at Indoor Firing Ranges.”

The details of NIOSH’s investigation, including further recommendations to improve workplace conditions, were published in a health hazard evaluation (HHE) report released last week. Read about the other aspects of NIOSH’s investigation—inspecting the second-floor offices for mold and assessing exposures to illicit drugs and other chemicals—in the HHE report.

Other NIOSH HHE reports are available on the agency’s website.