Take-home lead exposure among children with relatives employed at a battery recycling facility - Puerto Rico, 2011.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Nov 30; 61(47):967-70.MM
The recycling of lead has increased during the past 20 years, with more workers and their families potentially being exposed to lead from recycling facilities, including facilities that recycle lead-acid batteries. During November 2010-May 2011, four voluntary blood lead screening clinics for children of employees of a battery recycling facility in Puerto Rico were conducted. A total of 227 persons from 78 families had blood lead tests. Among 68 children aged <6 years, 11 (16%) had confirmed blood lead levels (BLLs) ≥10 µg/dL, the BLL at which CDC recommended individual intervention to reduce BLLs in 2010, and 39 (57%) children aged <6 years had venous or capillary BLLs ≥5 µg/dL, the reference value for elevated BLLs in children established by CDC in 2012. To determine whether take-home lead exposure contributed to the children's BLLs of ≥10 µg/dL, vehicle and household environmental samples were collected and analyzed. Eighty-five percent of vehicle dust samples and 49% of home dust samples exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) level of concern of ≥40 µg/ft² (430.6 µg/m²) [corrected]. EPA began clean-up of employee homes and vehicles, focusing first on homes with children with BLLs ≥10 µg/dL. EPA also required that the company set up shower facilities, shoe washes, and clean changing areas at the battery recycling facility. Lastly, CDC assigned a case manager to provide education, environmental follow-up, and case management of all children with BLLs ≥5 µg/dL. On average, children's BLLs have decreased 9.9 µg/dL since being enrolled in case management.