Estimation of burden of lead for offspring of female lead workers: A quality-adjusted life year (QALY) assessment

Hung Yi Chuang, Kun Yu Chao, Jung Der Wang

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This study demonstrates an empirical example that uses quality-adjusted life year (QALY) us a common metric for occupational health assessment to measure the utility loss of potential lead-exposed children delivered by female lead-battery-exposed workers. A set of nationwide health examination data was used for 1726 lead workers. Among them, there were 649 female workers. The numbers of offspring from female lead workers were estimated by multiplying the age-specific fertility rate (ASFR) by the number of workers in each age stratum. The quality of life assessment for these offspring was assumed impaired by increased absorption of lead using a measure of utility for quality of life that was adapted from Rosser's index of health-related quality of life. The total utility loss was calculated by summing up the loss of QALY for these expected offspring. Dose-response and exposure assessments were based on their mothers' blood lead levels. It was estimated that more than 38 babies were delivered in 1 yr. There would be 19 babies born with blood lead levels over30 μg/dl, and about 17 babies with blood lead between 10 and 29 μg/dl. The expected utility loss of the babies was estimated to be about 216 QALY, of which 51.6 QALY was attributed to the babies with moderate blood lead level, while that of high blood lead was 164.4 QALY. An effective industrial hygiene program to reduce blood lead to 5, 10, and 15 μg/dl in female lead-exposed workers would decrease the utility loss to 169.5, 126.8, and 92.3 QALY, respectively, in the offspring. An alternative policy of raising the age of female workers by 5 or 10 yr before employment would also reduce the loss to 174.6 or 107.4 QALY. Data suggest that an effective industrial hygiene program should be implemented, and the use of QALY as a common metric for comparative assessment of occupational health policy may be feasible. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1485-1496
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number17-18
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sep 10

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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