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Health, Science and Environment

Michigan announces new lead blood level standards for workers

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The state has announced new lower standards for acceptable blood lead levels for Michigan workers.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or MIOSHA, has enacted the lowest lead in blood standards in the country.

Barton Pickelman is the Director of MIOSHA. He said the new standards require workers to be taken off the job if their blood lead levels reach 30 micrograms per deciliter and can’t go back to work until their levels hit 15. Pickelman said average Americans have a blood lead level of about 2.

“When our occupational lead rules said a worker is ok to go back to work when a workers lead level is 40 that is just way too high.”

Pickelman said the standards are the most progressive in the country.

“We know that there are serious health effects, reproductive, cognitive, gastro-intestinal, they start to occur at levels of 5-10 micrograms per deciliter.”

The new standards will primarily impact construction and manufacturing workers.

The new rules were enacted on December 11th but Pickelman said the state will give businesses 60 days before they start enforcing the new standard.