Statistics release – blood lead exposure figures for 2012/13

There was an overall reduction in the number of British workers under medical surveillance for work with lead over the past decade. Women have consistently accounted for a small proportion of the total under surveillance, and the number of young people (under 18 years) under surveillance remains low.

The most recent medical surveillance data show:

  • The total number of workers under medical surveillance fell by 47% from 7949 in 2011/12 to 4240 in 2012/13
  • The industry sector with the highest number of males under surveillance was the lead battery manufacture sector, with numbers similar to previous years
  • There were substantial reductions in the number of males under surveillance in a number of other sectors, including the smelting, refining, alloying and casting industry
  • In 2012/13, 3 males had blood-lead levels of 60µg/100ml or above compared with 142 males in 2002/03
  • There was a large increase in the number of females in the potteries, glazes and transfers sector, which in previous years had very low numbers under surveillance
  • In 2012/13, 4 females had blood-lead levels of 30µg/100ml or above compared with 18 females in 2002/03
  • There were 8 suspensions (4 males and 4 females) due to excess blood-lead levels in workers under surveillance in 2012/13

The total number of British lead workers under medical surveillance since 2002/03

  • More detailed information on medical surveillance of blood lead levels
  • Information on trends in medical surveillance of blood lead levels prior to the implementation of changes to the industrial sector categories

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