Adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance--United States, 2002

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 Jul 9;53(26):578-82.


CDC's state-based Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) program tracks laboratory-reported blood lead levels (BLLs) in adults. A national health objective for 2010 is to reduce to zero the number of adults with BLLs >/=25 microg/dL (objective no. 20-07). A second key ABLES measurement is BLLs >/=40 microg/dL, the level under which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration allows workers to return to work after being removed with an elevated BLL, and the level under which an annual medical evaluation of health effects related to lead exposure is required. The most recent ABLES report provided data collected during 1994-2001. This report presents ABLES data for 2002, the first year that individual rather than summary data were collected. The 2002 data indicate that approximately 95% of adult lead exposures were occupational, 94% of those exposed were male, and 91% were aged 25-64 years. The findings also indicated that the national decline in the number of adults with elevated BLLs continued in 2002; however, even greater prevention activities, particularly in work environments, will be necessary to achieve the 2010 health objective.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead / blood*
  • Lead Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Population Surveillance*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Lead