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An investigation of lead absorption in an electric accumulator factory with the use of personal samplers
  1. M. K. Williams,
  2. E. King,
  3. Joan Walford
  1. The TUC Centenary Institute of Occupational Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, W.C.1
  2. The Department of Occupational Health, University of Manchester

    Abstract

    Williams, M. K., King, E., and Walford, Joan (1969).Brit. J. industr. Med.,26, 202-216. An investigation of lead absorption in an electric accumulator factory with the use of personal samplers. Thirty-nine lead workers and controls, in stable conditions of exposure, each wore personal lead-in-air samplers daily for two weeks. During the second week samples for blood lead, urinary lead, urinary coproporphyrin, urinary δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), the punctate basophil count, and haemoglobin were taken daily. Duplicate estimations were made on one day.

    The lead exposures of men doing almost identical jobs differed by ratios of up to four to one. This could be attributed only to personal differences in working habits.

    The correlation coefficients and regression equations of the biochemical tests with lead-in-air and with each other were determined. The mean values and 95% confidence limits of single determinations of some of the biochemical tests corresponding to the two commonly accepted TLVs of lead-in-air (0·20 and 0·15 mg./m.3) were calculated from the regression equations.

    For each biochemical test the variation due to analytical error, the variation from day to day within subjects and the residual variation due to analytical error, and the residual variation about the regression on lead-in-air were calculated. Previous estimates of the latter are not known. Excessive confidence may be placed in an index of exposure due to its low coefficient of variation within subjects unless the coefficient of variation between subjects about regression is taken into account.

    This correction for specific gravity of estimations of lead and ALA in spot samples of urine was found to reduce slightly the residual variation between subjects about the regression on lead-in-air and to increase the correlations with lead-in-air and with the other biochemical tests, but these changes were not statistically significant.

    The modified method used for estimating blood lead and urinary lead is described and validated.

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