The aim of this cross-sectional study was to compare the blood lead levels of apprentices working in lead-related industries with those of non-apprentice controls and to evaluate the influence of such occupational exposure. The study was conducted between October 2004 and June 2005 in Bursa, Turkey. Subjects included 231 apprentices and 252 male controls, age ranging from 14-19 yr old. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to analyze blood lead levels. The overall mean blood lead level was 3.62 mu g/dl (95% CI 3.39-3.85), the apprentice mean was 4.99 mu g/dl (95% CI 4.60-5.38), and the control group mean was 2.37 mu g/dl (95% CI 2.22-2.51). The blood lead level of apprentices was significantly higher than that of controls (p<0.05). Results show that occupational exposure increases the blood lead levels of apprentices, although the impact on their immediate health is low. Measurement of blood lead levels of apprentices should be taken periodically, and a regular medical surveillance program should be established.