Subclinical Effects of Chronic Increased Lead Absorption — A Prospective Study: I. Study Design and Analysis of Symptoms

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Seventy workers exposed to lead for at least one year and 35 control workers have been enrolled in a prospective study of possible neurologic effects of chronic lead absorption at or below the current standard of 80 μg per 100 ml whole blood. The study design is described in detail. Initial results of analysis of lead-related symptoms from baseline studies indicate few differences between the exposed and nonexposed workers. The majority of differences were for central nervous system (CNS) symptoms and muscle or joint pain. Little correlation was found between symptom reporting and indices of lead absorption. The evidence suggests that factors other than lead absorption itself may be important in symptom reporting.

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