Identifying Occupational Exposure Risks to Lead in New York City and the Tri-State Area
VOETS, LLC provides consulting, testing, and monitoring services to identify lead hazards in work environments to protect workers and keep companies in compliance.
While many people recognize lead poisoning risks to children because of lead-based paints or lead-tainted drinking water, many workers in various industries, including the construction trades, could be exposed to dangerous levels of lead.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), while many people worry about lead in their homes or in the environment, for some, the workplace may offer the greatest potential for exposure.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that is often combined with other metals to produce alloys. Lead and lead alloys are used to make batteries, ammunition, and other metal products. In the past, lead was also used regularly in fuel, paint, ceramics, caulk, pipes, and solder among other things. Due to potential health issues from exposure, the amount of lead used in these products today has lessened or been removed. Though used less often, NIOSH reports that lead is still common in many industries, including construction, mining, and manufacturing. In these and numerous other industries, workers can be at risk of being exposed to lead by breathing it, ingesting it, or coming in contact with it.
NIOSH provides the following information for workers about how lead exposure can occur:
- Workers can be exposed by breathing-in lead fumes or lead dust. Lead fumes are produced during metal processing, when metal is being heated or soldered. Lead dust is produced when metal is being cut or when lead paint is sanded or removed. Lead fumes and lead dust do not have an odor, so workers may not know they are being exposed.
- Lead dust can settle on food, water, clothes, and other objects. If a worker eats, drinks, or smokes in areas where lead is being processed or stored, they could ingest it. A worker not washing their hands before eating or touching their mouth could also ingest lead.
- Some studies have found that lead can be absorbed through skin. Workers that handle lead and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, could be exposed. Lead dust can also get on clothes and hair. If this happens, it’s possible that a worker could track home some of the lead dust, which may also expose their family.
“While many people recognize lead poisoning risks to children because of lead-based paints or lead-tainted drinking water, many workers in various industries, including the construction trades, could be exposed to dangerous levels of lead,” Michael Berrevoets, President, VOETS, LLC. “At VOETS we work to protect workers and keep companies in compliance with state and federal lead regulations by identifying lead hazards using XRF equipment and laboratory testing conducted by certified lead inspectors and risk assessors.”
VOETS also recently sponsored an educational video about lead exposure risks in the work environment that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/9Xcns9ZY_bo
To learn more about VOETS and their lead, indoor air quality (IAQ), environmental, health, safety, or occupational testing and consulting services, please visit www.VOETS.nyc, email michael@VOETS.nyc , or call (212) 860-7450.
About Verification, Operations, and Environmental Testing Services (VOETS, LLC)
VOETS, LLC began operations in 2016 with some of the most seasoned professional indoor environmental quality consultants in the nation. They bring a proven track record of identifying and resolving a wide range of building science, industrial hygiene, and construction health and safety issues. VOETS offers environmental compliance, indoor air quality, mold, asbestos, lead-based paint, Legionella, environmental site assessments (ESAs), training, and industrial hygiene consulting services. The company specializes in field investigations and assessments of commercial, institutional, healthcare, and residential buildings throughout New York City and the tri-state area.
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