with those who did not (p = 0.082). Employees who both smoked more than 3 days per week and ate at work were almost 3 times as likely to have high BLLs than employees who did not.

Recent investigations have demonstrated that washing with soap and water is not an effective method for removing lead from skin. Sato and Yano (2006) demonstrated, using sodium sulfide to detect contamination by a change in skin color, that skin-color changes were more likely in lead-battery recycling employees who did not wash their hands or bathe beforehand or who had higher BLLs. Esswein et al. (2011) also developed a colorimetric method capable of detecting lead on skin and workplace surfaces. They demonstrated that hand decontamination, rather than washing, is required to ensure complete removal of lead. They found that a mixture of isostearoamidopropyl morpholine lactate and citric acid applied with a textured absorbent material was almost 100% effective in removing lead from skin. They suggest that the best method for preventing hand-to-mouth exposure may be skin decontamination and a colorimetric method to detect remaining contamination.

If DOD’s occupational exposure limit for lead is lowered, surface and skin decontamination are likely to play an even more important role in effective control of employee exposures than in the past. It will be important for an updated guideline to address the importance of decontamination in more detail and with greater precision. Where possible, quantitative levels of contamination should be included in guidelines rather than qualitative statements regarding the importance of housekeeping.

REFERENCES

ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). 2001a. Lead, Elemental and Inorganic. Documentation of the Biological Exposure Indices-BEI®, 7th Ed. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati, OH.

ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). 2001b. Lead and Inorganic Compounds. Documentation of TLV® Chemical Substances, 7th Ed. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati, OH.

ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). 2012. 2012 TLVs® and BEIs®. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Cincinnati, OH.

Bullock, W.H., and J.S. Ignacio, eds. 2006. A Strategy for Assessing and Managing Occupational Exposures. Fairfax, VA: AIHA Press.

CalOSHA (California Division of Occupational Safety and Health). 2003. Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Orders, Lead Section 5198, Amended June 19. 2003 [online]. Available: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/olppp/Documents/ligi.pdf [accessed June 26, 2012].

Chuang, H.Y., M.L. Lee, K.Y Chao, J.D. Wang, and H. Hu. 1999. Relationship of blood lead levels to personal hygiene in lead battery workers: Taiwan, 1991-1997. Am. J. Ind. Med. 35(6):595-603.



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