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Lead Publications:
Workers and Parents
Employers and Businesses
Clinical Laboratories
Health Care Professionals
Other Heavy Metals

Lead has many different uses. It is used in the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), and devices to shield X-rays. Lead compounds are used as a pigment in paints, dyes, and ceramic glazes and in caulk. Overall, the amount of lead used has been reduced in recent years to minimize lead’s harmful effect on people and animals. Even the use of lead in bullets and shot as well as in fishing sinkers is being reduced because of its harm to the environment.


Workers can be exposed to lead through inhalation of fumes and dusts, as well as through ingestion as a result of lead-contaminated hands, food, drinks, cosmetics, tobacco products, and clothing. Furthermore, workers can take lead home on their clothes, skin, hair, tools, and in their vehicles, potentially exposing their families to harmful health effects.

Occupations where workers may be exposed include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing:
    - Bullets
    - Ceramics
    - Ceramic tiles
    - Electrical components
    - Lead batteries
    - Pottery
    - Stained glass
  • Mining
  • Painting, renovation, and abatement work
  • Radiator repair
  • Recovery of gold and silver
  • Repair and reclamation
    of lead batteries
  • Smelting
  • Welding
  • Work on firing ranges
Symptoms of lead poisoning include weakness, excessive tiredness, irritability, constipation, anorexia, abdominal discomfort (colic), fine tremors, and wrist drop. Additionally, damage to the kidneys and the nervous system, anemia, high blood pressure, impotence, infertility, and reduced sex drive can also occur with overexposure to lead. Lead poisoning, neurological effects, and diminished mental function have occurred in the children of workers engaged in the occupations mentioned above.

Workers and Parents:

Employers and Businesses:

Clinical Laboratories:

Health Care Professionals:

NJ ABLES Program

The Occupational Health Surveillance Unit maintains a registry of adults with lead poisoning. This tracking system is called ABLES. ABLES stands for Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) currently funds 37 states including New Jersey to conduct the ABLES Program.

NJ ABLES collects and analyzes occupational information on adults with lead in blood and/or urine to identify occupations and industries most in need for intervention. NIOSH combines information from the 37 states to help measure trends in adult blood lead levels in these states. NJ ABLES also conducts other projects to help understand and prevent lead poisoning in New Jersey workers.

Lead Training and Certification

In order to perform lead-based paint work in New Jersey, individuals must be permitted by the NJDOH and be employed by a licensed lead abatement contractor. For more information regarding permitting requirements, please click here.

For information on lead contractor licensing, please contact the NJ Department of Community Affairs.

Department of Health

P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
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Last Modified: Thursday, 15-Sep-16 09:38:19