National Lead Industries Biomonitoring Project

Information Sheet, October 2012

  • This Information Sheet is also available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 207KB, 2pg.)

What is the purpose of this project?

From 1958 through 1982, the National Lead Industries (NL) plant in Colonie, New York, made products for military use, using uranium, lead and other chemicals. The purpose of this project is to take appropriate actions to address ongoing health concerns of former employees and nearby residents of the NL site in Colonie. To accomplish this goal, total uranium and depleted uranium will be measured in the urine of former NL workers and residents who lived near the NL site when it was in operation. This project will provide information to participants and may help inform their personal health care decisions. The project may also contribute to future scientific research.

Who is conducting the project?

This project is a collaboration between the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and Community Concerned about NL (CCNL). The Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology, part of the Center for Environmental Health, and the Laboratory of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, Wadsworth Center, are the two NYS DOH units conducting the project. CCNL is the community group that has represented residents and workers since 1982, and has been advocating for a biomonitoring study to measure body burdens of depleted uranium.

Who will be participating?

  1. Former employees of NL
  2. Residents who lived near the NL site when it was in operation

How will people be recruited?

In the mid-1980s, the US Department of Energy removed contaminated soil from over 50 properties near the NL site – these are known as 'remediated' properties. Residents of these homes likely had the most exposure. Over the past several years, CCNL has developed lists of people who are concerned about or are interested in learning more about their exposures from the NL facility. From these lists, we have identified people who lived for at least 10 years on one of the remediated streets between 1958 and 1982 or worked at the NL plant for at least 1 year. These people will receive letters inviting them to participate. These lists are not complete; former workers or nearby residents who contact us will also be invited to participate.

The invitation letters will contain a postcard to mail back to the NYS DOH to show interest in participating in the project. Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology staff will call interested individuals to schedule an appointment at a sampling event. CCNL will assist with follow-up phone calls to encourage people to participate.

What will people be asked to do?

Once recruited, each person will be scheduled to visit a project site in Colonie, New York, for a sampling event. At this event, participants will be asked to:

  1. Sign an informed consent form;
  2. Complete a short interview;
  3. Provide a small sample of urine (about ¼ cup) in a private setting;

    If the participant chooses to do so (OPTIONAL):

  4. Provide a small blood sample (about 1½ teaspoons), as well as any shed teeth or bone samples.

If it is not possible for all participants' urine to be tested for depleted uranium, the participants' exposure history information will be used to select participants for the depleted uranium testing who are most likely to have been exposed to depleted uranium.

Participants will receive letters giving the results of their urine test for total uranium and depleted uranium. Along with the test results, information such as comparison numbers for uranium levels in urine in the general population will be included in the letter to help participants understand their individual results. CCNL staff, NYS DOH staff and a NYS DOH physician will be available to participants and/or their personal physicians if they have any additional questions about their urine results.

For more information:

Please contact Ms. June Moore at (518) 402-7950,, or

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology
Empire State Plaza
Corning Tower, Room 1203
Albany, New York 12237