Lead, Inorganic (as Pb)
- Synonyms: Synonyms vary depending upon specific compound (e.g., Lead oxide, Lead arsenate, Lead chromate)
- OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1591
- Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7439-92-1; 1317-36-8 (lead oxide); 7758-97-6 (lead chromate); 7784-40-9 (lead arsenate); 18454-12-1 (lead chromate oxide)
- NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: OF7525000
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Lead: Chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary, Lead Compounds: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more
Exposure Limits and Health Effects
|Exposure Limit||Limit Values||HE Codes||Health Factors and Target Organs|
|OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry See 29 CFR 1910.1025 Note: OSHA considers "lead" to mean elemental lead, all inorganic lead compounds, and a class of organic lead compounds called lead soaps. This standard does not apply to other organic lead compounds. Note: Large nonferrous foundries (20+ employees) are required to achieve the PEL of 0.05 mg/m3 by means of engineering and work practice controls. Small nonferrous foundries (<20 employees) are required to achieve an 8-hour TWA of 0.075 mg/m3 by such controls.||
|HE7||Cumulative neurologic effects|
|HE12||Cumulative blood effects|
|OSHA PEL - Construction Industry See 29 CFR 1926.62||
||HE3||Constipation, nausea, pallor|
|HE7||Nervous irritability, hyperactivity, anxiety, insomnia, headache, weakness, numbness, dizziness|
|OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment See 29 CFR 1915.1025||
||HE3||Nephropathy, loss of kidney function, increased blood pressure|
|HE5||Reduced sperm count and male sterility|
|HE7||Subclinical and clinical peripheral neuropathy (muscle weakness, pain, and paralysis of extremities)|
|HE12||Disruption of hemesynthesis, anemia|
|National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) See Appendix C Note: NIOSH considers "lead" to mean metallic lead, lead oxides, and lead salts (including organic salts such as lead soaps but excluding lead arsenate).||
||HE5||Reproductive toxicity, nephrotoxicity, cardiovascular toxicity, gastrointestinal toxicity|
|American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (1991)
Lead chromate [7758-97-6], as Pb (1990)
|HE3||Cardiovascular toxicity, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, nephrotoxicity|
|HE7||Neurologic and neurobehavioral toxicity|
|CAL/OSHA PELs (See also Section 5198)||
||HE3||Cardiovascular toxicity, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, nephrotoxicity|
|HE7||Neurologic and neurobehavioral toxicity|
National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans)
EPA carcinogenic classification: Probable human carcinogen - based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals
EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established
NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 100 mg/m3 (as Pb)
Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
- Exposure to high levels of lead may cause miscarriage in pregnant women (ATSDR 2007).
- High Petrol-Lead Emission Areas (PLEA) might result in an increase in the incidence rate of brain cancer resulting from high lead exposures (Wu et al. 2012).
- Lead exposure below 70 mg/100 ml reduced neurobehavioral abilities, particularly visuospatial abilities and executive functions (Barth et al. 2002).
- Both NTP and IARC found limited evidence for carcinogenicity of lead smelter and battery industries, concluding that evidence from epidemiological studies is compatible with small increases in the risk of lung or stomach cancer (NTP 2010, IARC 2006).
- The OSHA lead standard targets a lead in blood level below 40 μg/dL, directing medical removal at a three test moving average of 50 μg/dL.
- The NTP concludes that there is sufficient evidence for adverse health effects in adults at blood Pb levels <10 μg/dL (increased blood pressure, tremor), and <5 μg/dL (kidney effects, developmental effects) as well, (NTP 2012).
- ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Lead and Inorganic Compounds. 2001.
- ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Lead. August 2007.
- Barth, A. et al.: Reduced cognitive abilities in lead-exposed men. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health 75(6): 394-398, 2002.
- IARC Monograph 87 Organic and Inorganic Lead Compounds, 2006.
- NIOSH: Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES).
- NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Inorganic Lead. 1988.
- NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Lead. August 10, 2002.
- NTP Monograph on Low Level Effects of Lead, 2012
- NTP Report on Carcinogens Lead and Lead Compounds
- OSHA: Abrasive Blasting Hazards in Shipyard Employment. December 2006.
- OSHA: Lead in Construction 2004.
- OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Substance Safety Data Sheet for Occupational Exposure to Lead. 1910.1025 App A. May 31, 1991.
- Wu, W.T., Lin, Y.J., Liou S.H., Yang, C.Y., Cheng, K.F., Tsai, PJ, and Wu T.N.: Brain cancer associated with environmental lead exposure: evidence from implementation of a National Petrol-Lead Phase-Out Program (PLPOP) in Taiwan between 1979 and 2007. Environ Int. 40: 97-101, 2012.
Date Last Revised: 12/11/2012
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA
Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
- Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
- maximum volume: 960 Liters
- minimum volume: 480 Liters
- maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
- current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
- method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
- method classification: Fully Validated
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
- note: On-site surface sampling test kits are commercially available. OSHA neither endorses these kits nor recommends their use. The effectiveness and applicability of these kits are the responsibility of the user.
Wipe Sampling Method:
- Ghostwipe - Whatman Smear Tab filter. Moistened with Distilled Water.
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