Elevated Levels of Lead Found in USA Brass Employees - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Elevated Levels of Lead Found in USA Brass Employees

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BOZEMAN -

The Gallatin County Health Department is warning residents about lead exposure after multiple people who worked at the USA Brass Company in Bozeman reported finding high levels of lead in their bloodstream.

On Wednesday, the Gallatin County Health Department reported at least 22 people have elevated levels of lead in the bloodstream.

Matt Kelley with the health department said no amount of lead is safe for an individual to be exposed to.

"It can get inside your body and disrupt the molecular process that makes your body function," said Kelley.

Most or all of the individuals work or have worked at USA Brass Company Incorporated in Bozeman. The company buys and provides brass for commercial ammunition manufacturers and individuals.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA cited the company for 10 serious violations for lead exposure to it's employees with $45,500 in proposed penalties.

"We sent an industrial hygienist to the facility in Bozeman USA Brass Inc. We did sampling for airborne levels of lead and we found over exposures," said Jeff Funke, OSHA Director in Billings.

Some of the violations included failure to provide adequate respiratory protection to employees and to conduct initial determinations of worker exposure to lead.

"If you're over exposed to lead you have to wear appropriate protection, there has to be training for employees and there has to be hygiene facilities," said Funke.

"They either breathe it in or they swallow it," said Kelly. "People are exposed to lead anytime there's dust in the air or dust settles on their clothing, equipment or shoes."

Right now, the company is working to fix the violations.

"We will require them to submit abatement and then I will review that abatement to make sure it's acquit," said Funke. "I will then work with them if they are having trouble compiling."

A meeting is scheduled with OSHA, the company and their attorneys on November 13 to respond to the violations.

Kelley said anyone who thinks they were exposed to lead should consult with their local health care provider.

ABC/FOX Montana did try to reach out to USA Brass Company, but the phone call was not returned.

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