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KDKY Choy, HS Lee, CH Tan
Correspondence: Dr Choy Kwok Yin Kenneth David, Kenneth_CHOY@mom.gov.sg
Introduction To illustrate the lead hazard in the ceramics art industry and the importance of blood lead monitoring and suspension of workers with high blood lead levels.
Methods Interviews were conducted for workers exposed to the lead hazard from a factory manufacturing decorative ceramic tiles. Serial blood lead levels were taken and measurements of lead-in-air and lead in the bulk samples were conducted.
Results High blood lead levels were observed in four out of 12 workers. Three workers were suspended from further lead exposure and one left the factory. These workers were not aware of the hazards of lead and the importance of good personal hygiene. They were educated on the hazards of lead, the importance of good personal hygiene practices and on the use of the appropriate personal protective equipment. There was an improvement in overall blood lead results in the subsequent months.
Conclusion Lead hazard is present in the ceramics art industry and ingestion is probably an important route of absorption. The monitoring of blood lead levels was useful to identify and follow-up workers with high blood lead levels. Suspension of workers from further lead exposure was effective in decreasing the blood lead levels of the workers.
Keywords: blood lead monitoring, ceramic tiles, ingestion, serial blood lead levels
Singapore Med J 2004; 45(4): 176-179