Health effects of low-level lead exposure among iron workers repairing an elevated railway in New York City

A. Fischbein, R. Goldberg, N. Haymes, S. H. Kon, L. Sarkozi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Flame cutting of lead-painted steel structures may be associated with considerable lead exposure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the health effects of lead exposure among iron workers repairing an elevated railway system in New York City, and to compare various biologic indicators of lead exposure between such workers and a control group. Zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) determination as a diagnostic test for the medical surveillance of lead-exposed populations was also evaluated. It was found that the iron workers had evidence of increased lead absorption as determined by ZPP, blood lead and hemoglobin levels. Twenty-one percent of the workers gave a history of lead-related symptoms even though their blood lead levels were within a commonly 'acceptable' range. This study also demonstrated that zinc protoporphyrin is a more sensitive and accurate indicator of chronic lead exposure than is blood lead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-712
Number of pages15
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Volume45
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1978

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