The South Carolina Environmental Public Health Tracking Program's Role in Monitoring and Reducing Occupational Exposure to Lead: Public Health Actions in Collaboration with the South Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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Abstract

Per South Carolina (SC) Law §44-29-10, all blood lead test records are reportable. The SC Environmental Public Health Tracking (SC EPHT) program is directly involved in blood lead surveillance in SC, as it maintains the blood lead record database. Although Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was discontinued in 2013, SC EPHT has continued to monitor and record adult blood lead test records.

In 2012, SC EPHT signed a memorandum of understanding with the SC Occupational Safety and Health Administration (SC OSHA). Per this agreement, quarterly reports of elevated adult blood lead concentrations (≥25 μg/dL) are supplied to SC OSHA, along with North American Industry Classification System codes of employers. This information is used for industrial inspections, mitigation, and abatement related to lead. The SC EPHT program's collaboration with SC OSHA has resulted in a number of public health actions that have improved the health and well-being of workers in SC. Of the 3 nationally accepted SC public health actions related to occupational lead exposure, 2 detail investigations and citations by SC OSHA. The other describes internal analyses conducted by the SC EPHT program regarding elevated blood lead levels in adults and associations with specific North American Industry Classification System codes.

In this review, we outlined the role of SC EPHT related to adult blood lead surveillance in SC, including implementation of the memorandum of understanding with SC OSHA. We also examined demographics of adult blood lead records in SC for 2010-2015 and summarized public health actions related to occupational lead exposure in SC. Since federal funding for the SC EPHT program was initiated in 2009, the program has played an important part in lead surveillance in SC. The resulting health benefits to those with the potential for occupational exposure to lead are extremely important.

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