December 4, 2009
Commander David L. McMillan, MD, MPH
Occupational and Environmental Medicine Programs and Policy
U.S. Department of the Navy
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
2300 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20372
Dear Dr. McMillan:
Thank you for your letter, July 20, 2009, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Office of Occupational Medicine, within the Directorate of Science, Technology and Emergency Management. Your letter has been referred to the Directorate of Enforcement Program's Office of Health Enforcement for an answer to your specific questions regarding medical exams and blood testing for zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) under OSHA's Lead Standards. This reply letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not detailed within your original correspondence. Your paraphrased question and our reply are below.
Question: Your request on behalf of the U.S. Navy referred to recently published medical studies supporting the discontinuation of ZPP use in the surveillance of workers without lead overexposure and low blood lead levels. You asked, "Could OSHA provide an exemption letter from the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1025, such that the ZPP is no longer required for medical surveillance of employees with a low prevalence of elevated blood lead levels?"
Reply: No. As you are aware, OSHA's Lead Standard requires medical surveillance, including ZPP sampling and analysis, of workers who are or may be exposed above the action level for more than 30 days per year, as per 29 CFR 1910.1025(j)(1)(i). Employers are required under 29 CFR 1910.1025(d) to conduct exposure assessments to determine whether employees are so exposed. With