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Clinical, Toxicological, Biochemical, and Hematologic Parameters in Lead Exposed Workers of a Car Battery Industry

Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
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  • Original Article
  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


Background: Lead is a toxic element which causes acute, subacute or chronic poisoning through environmental and occupational exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate clinical and laboratory abnormalities of chronic lead poisoning among workers of a car battery industry. Methods: Questionnaires and forms were designed and used to record demographic data, past medical histories and clinical manifestations of lead poisoning. Blood samples were taken to determine biochemical (using Auto Analyzer; Model BT3000) and hematologic (using Cell Counter Sysmex; Model KX21N) parameters. An atomic absorption spectrometer (Perkin-Elmer, Model 3030, USA) was used to determine lead concentration in blood and urine by heated graphite atomization technique. Results: A total of 112 men mean age 28.78±5.17 years, who worked in a car battery industry were recruited in the present study. The most common signs/symptoms of lead poisoning included increased excitability 41.9%, arthralgia 41.0%, fatigue 40.1%, dental grey discoloration 44.6%, lead line 24.1%, increased deep tendon reflexes (DTR) 22.3%, and decreased DTR (18.7%). Blood lead concentration (BLC) was 398.95 µg/L±177.40, which was significantly correlated with duration of work (P=0.044) but not with the clinical manifestations of lead poisoning. However, BLC was significantly correlated with urine lead concentration (83.67 µg/L±49.78; r2=0.711; P<0.001), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (r=-0.280; P=0.011), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (r=-0.304; P=0.006) and fasting blood sugar or FBS (r=-0.258; P=0.010). Conclusion: Neuropsychiatric and skeletal findings were common manifestations of chronic occupational lead poisoning. BLC was significantly correlated with duration of work, urine lead concentration, two hemoglobin indices and FBS.

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