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Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program


The Adult Blood Lead and Epidemiology Surveillance (ABLES) program is a state-based surveillance program of laboratory-reported adult blood lead levels. The program objective is to build state capacity to initiate, expand, and/or improve adult blood lead surveillance programs which can accurately measure trends in adult blood lead levels and which can effectively intervene to prevent lead over-exposures. NIOSH is currently the only federal supported occupational surveillance for lead. ABLES state interventions to prevent lead over-exposures include (1) conducting follow-up interviews with physicians, employers, and workers; (2) investigating work sites; (3) providing technical assistance; (4) providing referrals for consultation and/or enforcement; and (5) developing and disseminating educational materials and outreach programs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Data Years Available: 
Mode of Collection: 
Mandatory reporting of laboratory reports to state health departments.
Selected Content: 
Population Covered: 
Workers in states participating in the ABLES program

ABLES states are required to have a mandatory state requirement that laboratories report blood lead level results to the state health department or designee.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

In 2007, the ABLEs program collected data from 40 states. Data on industry and exposure source were submitted by 35 states (8,246 resident adults).

Interpretation Issues: 

Adult Blood Lead Surveillance and Epidemiology 2005-2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 56(14); 365-369. 2009.