Characterization of lead exposure among bridge repair workers
Exposure to lead is now being recognized as a primary health hazard facing construction workers. Of particular concern are those activities that involve the demolition, repair and reconditioning of lead-based painted surfaces, such as bridge repair work, which generate significant airborne lead concentrations. Recently, several workers on a local bridge renovation project were diagnosed as having medical problems associated with overexposure to airborne lead. This overexposure was determined to result from lead dust generated during the operations necessary for bridge renovation: cutting, blasting, scraping, and hammering of painted metal surfaces. More information is needed concerning the fate of lead dust generated during bridge renovation and repair activities. This study will establish baseline data on the lead concentrations found at bridge repair sites, and use this data in exposure assessment and characterization by personal exposure monitoring and sampling during each of the activities involved in bridge repair operations.
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