Lead concentrations were measured in surface dust, airborne dust, air, and grinding material from five engine reconditioning workshops to evaluate the impact on blood lead concentrations (PbB) of 10 employees. Lead in the environmental samples ranged from trace amounts to extremely high concentrations (4667 mg/m2). The highest concentrations in surface wipes were found in areas where engine deposits are removed from valves and valve seats. The amounts of lead in long term dustfall accumulation and static air filter samples varied with the position in the workshop and the amount of ventilation. In all but one workshop, the air lead concentrations exceeded Australian occupational guidelines of 150 micrograms Pb/m3. PbB ranged from 4.5 to 25.3 micrograms/dl. There was an empirical relation between the cleanliness, work practices, ventilation of the workshops, lead concentrations in environmental samples and PbB. Office employees not directly exposed to the leaded dust had the lowest PbB. Those who smoked had the highest PbB. Several relatively inexpensive recommendations were made to the owners to minimise exposure of the workers and in most cases these have been implemented.
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