A Penn State College of Medicine student is assisting in statewide efforts to monitor adult blood-lead levels (BLL) in an attempt to strengthen prevention strategies. Simisola Bello-Teye, a doctor of public health student, is assisting the Pennsylvania Department of Health on a project to decrease lead exposure, particularly among industrial workers. Studies have shown that lead exposure can cause serious, life-threatening health complications.
Bello-Teye, who began her work over the summer, monitors BLLs of individuals at least 16 years old, to ensure levels fall within an acceptable range.
One of the highlights of this work has been my collaboration with the medical laboratories,” she said. “It is enlivening for me to see how our efforts to reduce the blood lead levels has affected the companies.”
In addition to monitoring BLLs of employees, she works with companies to disseminate educational materials to help minimize lead exposure. Industrial workers, who are at a higher risk of lead exposure, face health-related problems including nerve damage, joint and muscle pain, hearing loss, brain disorders, seizures, reproductive complications, kidney problems and gastrointestinal effects.
“This project has offered me a first-hand experience on how we can work to protect industrial workers from lead exposure. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the solution to curb occupational lead exposure,” said Bello-Teye.
For more about research from Penn State College of Medicine or the Department of Public Health Sciences, visit http://med.psu.edu/phs. For more information on lead poisoning and exposure risks, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health (www.health.pa.gov) or call its Lead Information Line toll-free at 800-440-LEAD (5323).