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Health Effects of Lead

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Lead-Safe Weatherization for Crews and Managers Health Effects of Lead WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM STANDARDIZED CURRICULUM September 2012 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Health Effects of Lead


1
Health Effects of Lead
  • Lead-Safe Weatherization for Crews and Managers

WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM STANDARDIZED
CURRICULUM September 2012
2
Learning Objectives
  • Describe lead poisoning and understand how much
    lead is dangerous to the body.
  • Explain methods through which lead can enter the
    body.
  • List the different effects of lead on children
    and adults.
  • Describe how blood lead levels are measured.
  • Summarize OSHA worker protection standards
    related to lead.

3
Possible Sources of Lead
  • Imported pottery
  • Water pipes
  • Mini-blinds
  • Painted toys
  • Painted furniture
  • Craft products
  • Others

Image courtesy of Mike Vogel
Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
Photo courtesy of CPSC
Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Children's
Hospital
Image courtesy of Mike Vogel
Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
4
What is Lead Poisoning?
  • Lead poisoning refers to the health effects
    associated with an abnormally high level of lead
    in the blood stream.
  • Symptoms of lead poisoning may develop quickly
    but are often not recognized until severe damage
    is done.
  • These symptoms of lead poisoning are often
    mistaken for the flu.
  • In cases of chronic lead poisoning, the symptoms
    may come and go for months.
  • A child can seem healthy because the symptoms do
    not develop until the condition is serious and
    significant irreversible damage is already done.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. EPA
5
How Long Can Lead Remain in the Body?
  • Once lead gets into the body, it stays in the
    blood for several weeks and can be stored in the
    bones for 30 years or more.
  • The more lead a person is exposed to, the greater
    the chance for lead poisoning.
  • Many small doses of lead over a long period of
    time can cause lead poisoning.
  • One large dose of lead in less than a day can
    cause lead poisoning.

6
How is Lead in the Body Measured?
  • Blood tests are the only way to measure lead
    exposure.
  • The amount of lead in the body is the Blood Lead
    Level (BLL).
  • BLL is measured in micrograms (µg) of lead per
    deciliter (dL) of blood.
  • A microgram is equal to one single grain of sugar
    cut into 1,000 pieces.
  • A deciliter, a volume measure, is equal to a
    little less than half a cup. A person weighing
    165 pounds has about 60dL of blood.

Photos courtesy of Mike Vogel
7
How Much Lead is Dangerous?
  • How much lead is dangerous?
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention (CDC) 5 µg/dL is the blood lead level
    of concern.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    (OSHA) requires the medical removal of workers
    whose blood lead level reaches 50µg/dl or
    greater.
  • The typical level for U.S. adults is less than 10
    µg/dL (mean 3 µg/dL).

8
Adult Reactions to Lead
Blood Level Reactions to Lead
10 µg/dL Increased blood pressure, harmful effects on a fetus, and joint and muscle aches.
25 µg/dL Reproductive problems.
40 µg/dL Kidney damage and damage to blood formation.
60 µg/dL Anemia, nerve damage, constipation, stomach pain, irritability, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, clumsiness, drowsiness, and sleep problems.
gt80 µg/dL Blue line on gums, uncontrollable shaking of hands, wrist and foot drop, hallucinations, brain damage, coma, and death (STDR 1989).
9
Child Reactions to Lead
Blood Level Reactions to Lead CDC - 5 µg/dL is the blood lead level of concern.
10 µg/dL Loss in IQ, hearing problems, and growth problems.
20 µg/dL Hyperactivity, poor attention span, difficulty learning, language and speech problems, and slower reflexes.
40 µg/dL Poor bone and muscle development, clumsiness, lack of coordination, early anemia, tiredness, and drowsiness.
gt50 µg/dL Stomach aches and cramps, anemia, and brain damage.
150 µg/dL Swelling of the brain, seizures, coma, death.
10
How Does Lead Get into the Body?
  • The chemical properties of lead are similar to
    the properties of calcium, a necessary nutrient,
    and are therefore readily absorbed by the human
    body.
  • Those who lack calcium and iron in their diets
    absorb more lead.
  • Children and pregnant women absorb up to 50 of
    the lead they ingest or inhale.
  • The rest of the population absorbs 10-15 of
    ingested or inhaled lead.

11
Lead Enters the Body in Two Ways
  • Inhalation (breathed in) Tiny lead particles in
    dust or fume form can be breathed into the lungs
    and absorbed into the blood stream.
  • Ingestion (swallowed) Lead can be swallowed if
    it is airborne or if it is on food, fingers,
    cigarettes, toys, or anything that is placed in
    the mouth. Lead that is inhaled but does not
    reach the lungs, can be trapped in the upper
    respiratory tract and is eventually swallowed.

12
Lead and Children
  • Lead is the foremost environmental health threat
    to children. Since children have a much smaller
    body mass, similar exposures between a child and
    an adult, yield a much higher dose in the child.
  • Almost one million children have enough lead in
    their blood to reduce intelligence and attention
    span.
  • Minority and low-income children are at a greater
    risk for lead poisoning than other population
    groups.
  • They generally live in older housing units.
  • They often have poor diets.
  • To keep from worsening the situation,
    Weatherization Programs serving this population
    must implement lead-safe Weatherization LSW
    practices in all homes built before 1978.

13
How Does Lead Affect the Body? The Heart and Blood
  • Lead kills red blood cells through oxygen
    depravation.
  • It reduces the ability to generate new red blood
    cells resulting in anemia.
  • Lead may cause high blood pressure which
    increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and
    kidney disease.

14
The Skeletal System
  • Lead is deposited in bone tissue where it blocks
    the production of new blood cells and competes
    with calcium.
  • Bones and teeth store 95 of the lead in the
    body. If lead is in the bones instead of calcium,
    it can be re-released into the blood when the
    body needs calcium as often occurs when the body
    is stressed.
  • Once the lead returns to the blood, it once again
    causes damage.
  • Lead that stays in the body is called body
    burden.

15
The Male Reproductive System
  • Lead poisoning causes decreased sex drive,
    erectile dysfunction, infertility, and damaged
    sperm.
  • Partners of lead-poisoned workers have more
    miscarriages, premature births, and their
    children are more likely to have more birth
    defects.

16
The Female Reproductive System
  • Lead poisoning causes decreased sex drive,
    abnormal menstrual cycles, infertility,
    miscarriages, and premature births.
  • During pregnancy, the body absorbs up to 50 of
    inhaled or ingested lead. Lead stored in the
    skeletal system can be re-released.
  • Lead damages fetuses causing low birth weight,
    birth defects, learning problems, and behavioral
    problems.

17
The Nervous System
  • Damage to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves can
    be permanent.
  • Lead poisoning can cause brain damage.
  • At very high doses, lead can cause
    hallucinations, swelling of the brain, coma, and
    death.
  • Lead damage to nerves usually starts at the hands
    and feet which may shake or, in severe cases, may
    become paralyzed.
  • The nervous system of a fetus, infant, or child
    is affected by even smaller amounts of lead.

18
The Kidneys
  • Kidneys help to filter out lead from the blood
    system.
  • Lead damages the kidneys as the filtration
    process occurs.
  • Damage is not usually discovered until
    significant function has been lost.
  • Lead poisoning can cause kidney failure and
    result in death.

19
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning
20
Worker Protection - OSHA
  • Even if DOE and EPA did not have rules dealing
    with lead exposure to workers, implementing
    Lead-Safe Weatherization, the Occupational Safety
    and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of
    the Department of Labor which writes and enforces
    rules protecting workers on the job.
  • To protect employees from lead hazards, the OSHA
    Lead in Construction Standard (29 CFR 1926.62)
    was developed. The standard became law on June 3,
    1993.

21
Action Level
  • OSHA Lead in Construction Standard (29 CFR
    1926.62) set two legal limits for the amount of
    lead workers are allowed to breathe.
  • Action Level
  • The Action Level for lead is 30 micrograms per
    cubic meter (µg/m3). The Action Level is like a
    yield sign. It means caution!

If average 8-hr exposure is over 30 µg/m³ the
employer must train the workers on the hazards of
working with lead and provide special medical
exams called medical surveillance.
22
Permissible Exposure Level
  • Permissible Exposure Level
  • The permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for lead is
    50 µg/m³.
  • The PEL is like a stop sign, it means go no
    higher!
  • The employer is not allowed to let workers inhale
    lead in concentrations of more than 50 µg/m³ of
    air without proper protection.
  • If the workers are in an area with more lead in
    the air than the PEL, the employer must reduce
    the exposure. The PEL is the highest average
    amount of lead exposure allowed for workers.

23
OSHA Required Protection and Responsibility
  • To protect workers from exposure to airborne
    levels of lead above the PEL, the employer must
    implement strategies to reduce the exposure. Such
    strategies include
  • Training on lead hazards.
  • Work practice and engineering controls
    (containment, HEPA vacuum, shrouded tools).
  • Protective clothing.
  • Protective equipment.
  • Respirators.
  • Medical surveillance.

24
Summary What is Lead Poisoning
  • Health effects associated with an abnormally high
    level of lead in the blood.
  • The signs and symptoms are much like those of a
    cold or the flu.
  • Sometimes there are no symptoms until the damage
    is significant.
  • Sometimes the symptoms come and go.

25
Summary How Does Lead Get into the Body?
  • Lead dust particles or fumes can be inhaled.
  • Children are at a higher risk because they have
    more frequent hand-to-mouth contact.
  • The major source of exposure for children is lead
    dust.
  • Children and pregnant women absorb up to 50 of
    the lead they ingest of inhale.
  • Non pregnant adults typically absorb about 10-15
    of the lead ingested or inhaled.

26
Summary How Does Lead Harm the Body?
  • Lead can cause permanent damage, even in small
    doses.
  • Childrens developing brains and bodies are
    easily damaged by lead.
  • Lead affects EVERY major organ in the body
    system.
  • Lead can stay in the blood stream for several
    months and in the bones for more than 30 years.
  • Lead can be released from the bones during times
    of stress.
  • Lead can cause still births and miscarriages.
  • Lead can cause behavioral, developmental, and
    learning problems in children.

27
Summary How Much Lead?
  • How is lead measured in the body?
  • Blood tests determine how much lead is in the
    blood.
  • Results of blood tests are called Blood Lead
    Levels (BLLs).
  • Blood Lead Levels are reported in µg/dL
    (micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood).
  • How much lead in the blood is dangerous?
  • The CDCs reference lead level for children is 5
    µg/dL.
  • At 50 µg/dL, OSHA requires that a worker be
    removed from a lead-related task until Blood Lead
    Levels are reduced.
  • Even relatively low lead levels in blood can
    cause serious health problems.
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