Predictors of blood lead levels in organolead manufacturing workers

Michael P. McGrail, Walter Stewart, Brian S. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The relations between recent and cumulative exposure to organic and inorganic lead and blood lead levels were examined in 222 organolead manufacturing workers. Personal monitoring data grouped by 29 exposure zones were used to derive estimates of recent and cumulative occupational exposure. Recent exposure to organic lead and recent combined exposure to organic and inorganic lead were significantly and positively associated with blood lead levels. Exposure duration was found to modify the relation between recent inorganic lead exposure and blood lead levels. Age and cigarette smoking were positively associated with blood lead levels, whereas alcohol use was associated with lower blood lead levels. This is in notable contrast to the influence of alcohol consumption on blood lead levels among inorganic lead workers or the general population. Furthermore, the data suggested that current alcohol use modified the relation between recent organic lead exposure and blood lead levels (P = .08): current alcohol users evidenced less of an increase in blood lead levels with increasing recent organic lead exposures than did workers who did not currently use alcoholic beverages. The data suggest that organic lead exposure affects blood lead levels, probably after dealkylation to inorganic lead. The associations with alcohol consumption may be evidence for differences in enzyme-mediated metabolism of organolead compounds. Finally, the data suggest that recent external lead exposure and internal lead stores both influenced blood lead levels in these workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1229
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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