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International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health


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Open Access

Outbreak of Lead Poisoning in High Voltage Tower Conservators

Patrycja Krawczyk1 / Jolanta Walusiak1 / Bogdan Szulc1 / Anna Krakowiak1 / Marta Wiszniewska1 / Tomasz Wittczak1 / Cezary Pałczyński1

Department of Occupational Diseases, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland1

This content is open access.

Citation Information: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health. Volume 19, Issue 3, Pages 181–184, ISSN (Online) 1896-494X, ISSN (Print) 1232-1087, DOI: 10.2478/v10001-006-0026-5, October 2006

Publication History

Published Online:
2006-10-28

Outbreak of Lead Poisoning in High Voltage Tower Conservators

Objectives: A changing character of lead exposure has been observed over many years. However, construction workers involved in the renovation of painted steel structures are still severely exposed to lead and its compounds. In 2004, we observed an outbreak of lead poisoning in high voltage tower conservators working abroad. Materials and Methods: As many as 27 male workers with suspected lead poisoning were hospitalized in the Department of Occupational Disease, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland. They were involved in removing an old lead-containing paint from high voltage towers. Results: On admission to the department, 70% of treated workers showed laboratory signs of anemia in their blood count. After treatment the signs persisted in 25% of patients. Also alkaline dotting in erythrocytes was present in 13 subjects. Sub-acute lead poisoning manifested by abdominal cramps with coexisting anemia and increased lead absorption symptoms was most frequently diagnosed. Conclusions: The high lead exposure of the examined high voltage tower cleaners was due to specific working conditions. In such cases overprotection of the environment may lead to severe health effects in humans.

Keywords: Lead poisoning; Occupational exposure

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