The lead battery industry is aiming to reduce worker blood lead levels to below 20mcg/dL (microgrammes per deciliter).
Two trade associations, representing battery manufacturers in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, have set the new target after completing a three-year voluntary programme to reduce levels to below 30mcg/dL.
Battery Council International (BCI) and EUROBAT will be working with the International Lead Association (ILA) to hit the new voluntary target by the end of 2025 and have established an interim target of 25mcg/dL by the end of 2019. ILA has said its members are committed to achieving the target of 20mcg/dl as soon as reasonably practicable.
“The new voluntary employee lead exposure reduction target of 20mcg/dL… goes way beyond the current European binding limit value of 70mcg/dL,” said Rene Schroeder, executive director of EUROBAT. “In 2019, lead battery manufacturers will review if the target of 20 µg/dl can be achieved even faster. The European lead battery manufacturing industry is committed to ensuring that its workforce is protected from workplace risks and to delivering a quality product that is essential to today’s transportation and energy storage needs.”
Andy Bush, ILA managing director, said: “The acknowledged benefits of lead batteries supported by the commitment of the lead and battery manufacturing and recycling industry to go beyond regulatory compliance in protecting its employees and the environment will help secure predicted market dominance of lead batteries in many applications for the foreseeable future.”
EUROBAT says the reductions have been made possible by improvements in manufacturing process technology, employee education programmes and a commitment from the lead and lead battery sector to make the continuous reduction of employee lead exposure a priority.
Mark Thorsby, executive vice-president of BCI, said: “In the USA we embarked on our voluntary compliance program over 20 years ago and to be able to announce a very ambitious new target across associations representing the lead battery value chain in several regions will not only benefit the wellbeing of employees but also help support the future sustainability of the global lead battery industry.”