It makes no difference if a blasting operator breathes-in, swallows, or absorbs lead particles, the health effects are the same; however, the body will absorbs higher levels of lead when it is breathed directly into the lungs.
Health effects from short-term overexposure to lead can occur if a blasting operator is exposed to very high levels of lead over a short period of time. When this happens, an operator may feel:
- Abdominal pain and/or constipated
- Consistently tired
- Head ache
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Pain or tingling in the hands and/or feet
- Feeling of weakness
Protecting blasters from exposure is a key requirement for project managers of the blasting site. Take all procedures available to reduce the possibility of lead exposure to site workers.
When removing a lead contaiminated coating, the very process of abrasive blasting generates large quantities of lead contaminated waste sand, which is expensive to dispose. Estimations for the tonnage of contaminated sand and grit generated by blasting a medium sized bridge to be about 800 tons if using expendable media.