Preventing Lead Exposure during Metal Recycling
New York State Department of Health conducted a Metal Recycling Industry Project (MRIP) that collected information on metal recycling operations and processes from 101 metal recyclers throughout New York State. This project had two components: a mail survey and on-site industrial hygiene evaluations. MRIP assessed the worker lead exposures associated with routine metal recycling tasks, such as sorting, shearing, and torch cutting a variety of materials through personal air monitoring, surface contamination evaluation and monitoring workers' blood lead levels (BLL). Findings from this project include:
- Significant lead exposure occurred when torch cutting not only painted metals, but also unpainted metals and new steel;
- Lead contamination was found in bathrooms and lunchrooms, and on workers' hands prior to eating;
- Metal recycling companies did not recognize potential sources of lead exposure (such as new steel) and underestimated the degree of exposure; and
- Metal recycling companies that we visited made substantial improvements to their lead protection programs after receiving information and technical guidance.
- Heavy Metals Registry
The Heavy Metals Registry receives reports of all blood lead tests performed on New York State residents, along with reportable levels of mercury, arsenic and cadmium.
- Occupational Health Clinic Network
The NYS Occupational Health Clinic Network includes seven regionally based Clinics along with an agricultural medicine clinic. The Clinics are mandated to: provide objective diagnosis of suspected work-related medical problems; conduct medical screenings for groups of workers who are at increased risk of occupational illness; make referrals for treatment to other medical specialists.
- Industrial Hygiene Services
NYSDOH Industrial hygiene staff provide technical assistance and expertise to individual companies for controlling workplace hazards.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NIOSH conducts research on workplace hazards, develops guidance materials, and certifies respirators.
- US Department of Labor - Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Federal agency that enforces health and safety regulations in private sector worksites in NYS.
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal agency has information on solid waste and recycling.
- Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is a national organization that represents more than 1,200 companies that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles.