Lead poisoning risk assessment of radiology workers using lead shields

Jamie M. Shoag, Kevin Michael Burns, Sukhraj S. Kahlon, Patrick J. Parsons, Polly E. Bijur, Benjamin H. Taragin, Morri Markowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: Lead containing dust may be present on the exterior surfaces of shields used to prevent radiation exposure. We determined whether use of lead shields poses an exposure risk for radiology personnel. Methods: We collected hand dustwipe and blood samples from 58 Radiology Department employees of an academic hospital. Samples were analyzed for lead content by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Results were compared between lead apron users (46) and nonusers (12). Results: Hand dustwipe lead was undetectable (<3 µg/sample) in all cases. Blood lead levels ranged from 0–3 µg/dL. Conclusions: In this study of Radiology Department workers, we did not find an increased risk of lead contamination on their hands or in their blood. Although our sample size is small, we conclude that lead poisoning is unlikely to occur with high frequency in lead shield users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Environmental and Occupational Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Lead
  • lead poisoning
  • occupational diseases
  • risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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