Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oklahoma finds lead exposure in children of oil field workers

Four children were exposed to lead poisoning through threading compound that was brought home on the clothing of their parents, oil field workers, reports the Oklahoma Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (OCLPP).

Commonly called pipe dope, some types of threading compound contain 30-60% lead. The Oklahoma State Department of Health said three oil field workers left drilling sites and laundered their work clothes at home. Two of the four children were siblings.

“There could be more undocumented cases as a result of oil field workers taking lead home,” said Fahad Khan, OCLPPP surveillance coordinator. “Given the health hazards associated with pipe dope containing lead, employers and worksites should also consider effective alternative options like lead-free biodegradable pipe dopes or dope-free connections.”

The Oklahoma lead exposure cases involved children ranging in age from 6-22 months during 2006-09. Blood lead tests documented their exposure.

Environmental lead levels were documented in the clothes, shoes, and furniture of their parents, indicating “take-home” lead exposure. Elevated environmental lead levels also were found inside washing machines used to launder family clothing and work clothing.

Health department officials recommend oil field workers do not enter their homes until they have taken showers and changed into clean clothes and shoes. A worker dressed in work clothes should not pick up a child, and work clothes should be kept separate from family clothing.

US Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards call for employers to provide for the cleaning of protective work clothing to prevent lead dispersion. The OCLPPP recommends employers and worksite mangers work with the Oklahoma Department of Labor’s Safety Pays OSHA Consultation Division and the Mid-Continent Exploration & Production Safety Network to ensure that exposure of lead in pipe dopes does not extend beyond the work site.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Will Manning said...

Thank you for the article! I just wanted to add that if you live in pre-1978 house, you can take the following steps to reduce your family’s exposure to toxic lead dust: Wash floors, windowsills and children’s toys often. Wipe your shoes off before entering the house. If you work with lead, wash your work clothes separately. If you are renovating your pre-1978 house, you need to hire an EPA RRP certified contractor who will use specific lead safe work practices. Please find more information on lead-safe work practices and lead poisoning prevention in children at http://www.zipwall.com/epa.php or visit the EPA’s official website at http://epa.gov/lead/. I hope it helps.

October 27, 2010 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Eric Esswein said...

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed, patented and licensed technologies to detect and remove lead from skin and surfaces. Soap and water is not a completley effective method to decontaminate skin. The methods are commercially available under the brand names "Full Disclosure" (lead detection wipes), MEDTOX Wipes, and Hygenall (lead decontaminating wipes). The technologies are patented and are multi-award winning products.

November 24, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

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