The latest figures from the lead industry show that a voluntary programme to reduce workforce lead exposure in ILA member companies has delivered significant improvements.
Delegates at the Lead Occupational Exposure Management Workshop, in Berlin, heard today that since 2013 there has been a 65% reduction in the number of employees with blood lead exceeding the target (blood lead greater than 30mcg/dL - microgrammes per deciliter). ILA represents companies in the lead mining, smelting, refining and recycling industries principally in Europe and North America.
This 30mcg/dL target was designed to encourage continuous improvement in the management of occupational lead exposure and goes beyond current regulatory requirements. Now, just 2% of employees across ILA member companies exceed the target.
The ILA programme aligned lead producers with a similar commitment made by EUROBAT (Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers) and Battery Council International in the USA (BCI) and goes beyond the existing legislative requirements.
All three associations have now agreed to a new ambitious goal - zero employees with blood lead levels exceeding 20mcg/dL. Lead producing members of ILA have committed to achieving this target as soon as reasonably practicable whereas the European and American battery sector has committed to achieving the target by the end of 2025 and have even established an interim milestone of 25mcg/dL by the end of 2019.
ILA Managing Director, Andy Bush, said “A 65% reduction in the number of employees exceeding the voluntary target since 2013 clearly demonstrates the commitment of lead producers to reduce employee lead exposures. The new target of 20mcg/dL is a further demonstration of the continuous improvement that the industry is committed to. I am confident that ILA members will make considerable progress towards achieving that target over the coming years.”
In transportation, more than a billion vehicles worldwide use lead batteries to start their engines and power on-board electronics. All fuel-efficient hybrid and fully electric vehicles also require advanced lead batteries in conjunction with other battery technologies. Collectively, the new generation of start-stop vehicles that use an advanced lead battery will continue to provide significant fuel savings.
Within the energy sector, lead batteries store renewable energy generated by cleaner, greener sources like wind and solar. These industrial lead batteries are the world’s most scalable, economic way to load the grid and reliably supply emergency back-up power during outages. This ensures critical medical data and security services continue to operate.
These attributes, coupled with the fact that in the United States and in Europe more than 99% of lead-based batteries are collected and recycled to produce new batteries, makes them the most sustainable as well as a safe and lowest cost solution to the planets energy storage needs.
Notes to editors
The International Lead Association is the trusted global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. ILA represents the producers of about 3 million tonnes of lead. The association is working towards a vision of a sustainable global lead industry that is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to society.
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