Entries tagged with “ZPP”.

Unfortunately this website has taken a backseat to actual work. My apologies for not updating the information, and especially to trusted subscribers of this site.

In the coming months, I plan to publish more posts with the same type of information. Thanks for hanging on. – Alden

As a preview: Did you notice that the State of Michigan OSHA (MIOSH) has updated (lowered) their lead (Pb) blood level mandates? Sadly, it took a lot of people being overexposed to lead (remember Flint, MI?) in order to make this simple change. I hope other states follow.

The answer is Yes.

If you are working with lead (in any amount) and you are performing any of the “trigger tasks” in construction = you must follow OSHA rules. Trigger tasks are demolition, removal, encapsulation, new construction, installation, cleanup, abrasive blasting, welding, cutting, torch burning, transporting, storing, heat gun work, sanding, scraping, spray painting, burning, welding, etc. What about the EPA rules (RRP)? Look here.

The only exceptions to not measuring employees blood lead are:

  1. On the first day of work activity, you perform air sampling (for the full shift) and can prove the airborne levels are below the Action Limits (<30 ug/m3)…or,
  2. OR…If you have relevant historical data and can prove your airborne levels during the same tasks are below the Action Limit (within the last 12 months). Relevant historical data must be REALLY relevant. Like, same work activity, same amount of lead in the paint, same general size/location, etc, etc.
These are the only exceptions.
If you choose to NOT perform blood lead monitoring the downsides are:
  • employees might already have dangerous levels of lead in their system, and you expose them to more
  • measuring blood lead levels after the exposure may indicate higher baseline blood lead levels -and you might have to pay for exposure which wasn’t your fault
  • if overexposed, and they have high blood levels – you might have to also check their family’s blood lead levels

More information on blood lead testing from my earlier post.

When taking blood lead levels, the occupational health clinic will typically measure both the lead in the blood, and the zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP). The reason for this is the blood lead level measures just that, only the lead in the blood – which can come from previous exposures and whatever amount has been stored in your bones (soft tissues). It really only gives one piece of information. An early indicator of  lead exposure is the ZPP level.

The ZPP level indicates lead absorption. If your ZPP levels are elevated, this may mean that lead is being absorbed into your body (affecting the heme synthesis pathway). However, an elevated ZPP can be caused by other things, including iron deficiency anemia, etc.

If you have elevated ZPPs, you need to find out what is causing it. If you’re working with lead, you may have overexposure. If this is the case, your blood lead levels will most likely elevate in 2-6 weeks.

Ask your occupational health clinic for ranges of acceptable blood lead levels and ZPP levels.