Volume 90 Issue 50 | p. 36 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 10, 2012

Lead Exposure Limits Are Inadequate

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: lead, worker exposure, OSHA, Department of Defense, firing ranges, military
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Lead levels at military firing ranges far exceed standards.
Credit: Cpl. S. Bard Valliere U.S. Marine Corps
Marine aims during the new course of fire on Edson Range aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 5, 2005.
 
Lead levels at military firing ranges far exceed standards.
Credit: Cpl. S. Bard Valliere U.S. Marine Corps

Allowable lead levels for U.S. workers, set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, are inadequate, according to a National Research Council report released last week. The report, sponsored by the Department of Defense, focused primarily on lead exposure for workers at military firing ranges. It found, however, that OSHA’s current lead exposure limit for all workers is too high. The OSHA standard, set in 1978, is 40 µg of lead per deciliter of blood. This works out to an environmental exposure of 50 µg of lead per m3 of air. Noting that much research has taken place since 1978, NRC says OSHA’s blood lead standard should be one-quarter the current level. The report adds that air recently collected at military ranges exceeds the current standard in some cases by a factor of more than 10.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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