Guidelines for the Management of Lead-Based Paint
7 PERSONAL HEALTH SURVEILLANCE
Blood lead content is accepted as a measure of recent lead exposure, and can be easily measured by having a blood sample tested. Whether the blood lead level is deemed to be satisfactory or unsatisfactory depends on whether the person concerned receives their exposure as an employee (contractor) or as a member of the general public. Current New Zealand standards are summarised below.
Occupational blood lead level surveillance is discussed in detail in the Guidelines for the Medical Surveillance of Lead Workers (Department of Labour) 2011. A summary of blood lead thresholds is presented in Table 3.
Table 3: Blood lead levels (occupational)
|Action criteria||Blood lead level|
|Maximum recommended level *1||1.5 μmol/litre (whole blood)|
|Suspension and Notification level to DOL *2||≥ 2.4 μmol/litre (whole blood)|
|Return to work level||≥ 1.94 μmol/litre|
*1 The objective is to ensure that the blood lead level of all workers in maintained below 1.5 μmol/litre.
*2 Result must be notified to the Department of Labour.
The frequency of blood testing for employees is dependent on their exposure characteristics, and should be determined by an occupational health nurse or other suitably qualified medical professional.
Irrespective of the test frequency, where employees experience the symptoms of acute lead poisoning, they should approach their employer and arrange a blood lead test with their medical practitioner.
7.2 General public
Second Schedule of the Health Act 1956 was amended in 2007. Lead absorption equal to or in excess of 0.48 μmol/l is notifiable to the Medical Officer of Health under the Health Act.
Table 4: Blood lead levels (general public)
|Criteria||Blood lead levels (general public)|
|Notifiable level||≥ 0.48 μmol/l (whole blood) or 10 μg/dl|