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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-14-021
Date: January 2014
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This report provides results of an assessment of the potential risk to human health posed by occupational and residential exposure to arsenic and lead concentrations found in glass beads used in pavement markings. The study used glass beads from samples of inventories from 15 State transportation departments to ascertain minimum screening levels based on both carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic effects, with the lower value selected as the final recommended screening level. The recommended screening levels were determined to be 220 ppm for arsenic, based on the child resident scenario, and 580 ppm for lead, based on the worker scenario. These determined screening levels are greater than the maximum content of 200 ppm for arsenic and 200 ppm for lead in glass beads prescribed in MAP-21 (the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act); therefore, the values specified in the existing legislation are considered protective of health based on currently available data.
The report is divided into three sections. The first section provides a detailed characterization of arsenic and lead concentrations in commercially available glass beads in current use on U.S. roadways, including the total, extractable, and bioaccessible arsenic and lead content in glass bead samples provided by State transportation departments. The second section describes the modeling methodology used to estimate the potential for adverse human health effects associated with arsenic and lead in glass beads used in pavement markings. The third section provides the human health screening levels for arsenic and lead in glass beads that are considered protective of human health. The results of the screening level assessment indicate that currently available products pose minimal health risk to humans while meeting retroreflective performance criteria.
Monique R. Evans
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development
This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.
The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.
Quality Assurance Statement
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.
Topics: research, infrastructure, pavements and materials
Keywords: research, infrastructure, pavements and materials, Pavement markings, glass beads, health, human health, environment, risk assessment, arsenic, lead, retroreflectivity, extractable, bioaccessible
TRT Terms: research, facilities, transportation, highway facilities, roads, parts of roads, pavements