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NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) Interactive Database

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Send Database Comments and Questions to the ABLES program at Project Officer

Exposure to inorganic lead continues to be an important health problem worldwide. In the U.S. the vast majority of reported elevated blood lead levels (BLLs) have been work related. To further the goal of reducing lead exposures in adults, NIOSH makes available to the public health community lead exposure data through this interactive database.

Since 1994, the state-based Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program has tracked laboratory-reported BLLs in U.S. adults. An overall decline in the national prevalence rates of BLLs ≥ 25 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) from 14.0 adults per 100,000 employed adults in 1994 to 7.4 in 2005 is observed. This represents a 47% decrease in the prevalence rates of BLLs ≥ 25 µg/dL during this 17-year time period. These results are likely underestimates of the true magnitude of lead exposures in adults, because some employers might not provide BLL testing to all lead-exposed workers as required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and because some laboratories might not report all tests as required by state regulations. These factors likely vary across the participating ABLES states.

Recent research has led to increased concerns about the toxicity of lead at low doses. Reflecting this increased concern, the ABLES program updated its case definition for an elevated BLL to a blood lead concentration ≥10 µg/dL in 2009. This new case definition has also been: (1) recommended by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists in 2009; (2) included in CDC’s list of nationally notifiable conditions in 2010; and (3) adopted as the Healthy People 2020 Occupational Safety and Health Objective 7. Given this new case definition, NIOSH will update the ABLES Charts and Interactive Database to include lead exposures to BLL ≥10 µg/dL in the near future.

 

 Number of Adults with Blood Lead Concentrations ≥ 25µg/dL by Industry Sector
Occupational Exposures, ABLES 2002 – 2008

Instructions:
• To see a table with the number of adults by year and SIC code within an industry sector, click on the sector you are interested in.
• For specific explanations and possible updates on data for any individual state, we strongly advise you to contact the ABLES Program principal investigator for that state, all of whom are listed on the ABLES State Contacts.
• Only data from state residents (new and old cases) and data from states providing occupational exposure information are included.

Sector Pie Chart ManufacturingMiningOtherConstruction
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 Number of Adults with Elevated Blood Lead Levels
Occupational and Non-Occupational Exposures, ABLES 2002 – 2008

Customized queries can be executed on this database beginning with the 2002 data. This is the year when the ABLES program started collecting individual data from the states. Previously only aggregated data was submitted to NIOSH.

Only data from state residents (new and old cases) and data from states providing exposure information are included. To see a list of available data by state and by year click Available Data.

Instructions:
  • To query the ABLES database, make filter selections by clicking items in the listboxes and then clicking the Submit button.
  • To select multiple items, hold Ctrl while clicking on the item or select a range of items with the mouse. Leaving any of the search options unchecked defaults to a search of all items in that category.
  • The list of years and states you selected will appear to the right of the listboxes.
  • For information on definitions, rate calculations, and interpretation of specific state ABLES data, please read the Glossary.
  • For specific explanations and possible updates on data for any individual state, we strongly advise to contact the ABLES Program principal investigator for that state, all of whom are listed on the ABLES State Contacts.

YEAR

STATE

AGE GROUP

EXPOSURE

BLL






                  INDUSTRY SECTOR

GENDER

 
 
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Instructions - The two rate trend charts below provide access to prevalence and incidence rates at the national and state levels from 1994 to 2005. Please click on the chart for an interactive view

 

Prevalence and Incidence Charts

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Page last updated: August 22, 2012
Page last reviewed: August 22, 2012
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies