Surveillance and Case Investigation
Lead poisoning continues to be a significant problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. While lead poisoning does occur in adults outside the workplace, most adults are exposed to lead on the job. Even though blood lead levels (BLLs) have gone down in the general population, thousands of people in the U.S. still work under conditions that can cause BLLs high enough to harm their health.
The Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (OLPPP) provides services to prevent and reduce lead poisoning among California workers, including conducting surveillance and case investigation. OLPPP tracks BLLs of workers through the California Occupational Blood Lead Registry (Registry), and investigates cases of work-related lead poisoning by working with workers, employers, and medical providers.
Data from the Registry, 2012-2014
Over the three-year period, 38,440 workers had one or more BLL tests, and 6,051 workers were identified with an elevated BLL, defined as 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL).
The majority of workers with an elevated BLL were male, 20–59 years of age, and had a Hispanic surname.
Sixty percent (60%) of workers with BLLs ≥10 µg/dL worked in the manufacturing sector, primarily in industries that make batteries, aircraft, aircraft parts, plumbing fixtures, or metal valves; build or repair ships; or recover lead from scrap. Fourteen percent worked in the construction sector, which includes painting.
See our latest report for more information (PDF).