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Radial and Median Nerve Conduction Velocities in Workers Exposed to Lead, Copper, and Zinc: A Follow-Up Study for 2 Years

Authors
Journal
Environmental Research
0013-9351
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
61
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/enrs.1993.1075
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract To evaluate the interactive effects of lead, zinc, and copper on the peripheral nervous system in man, we measured maximal motor and sensory conduction velocities (MCV and SCV) in the distal radial and median nerves in 19 gun metal foundry workers with asymptomatic increased absorption of these metals twice at a 12-month interval. The workers" initial blood lead (BPb) concentrations ranged from 16 to 64 (mean, 42) μg/dl. The principal findings in the present study indicated that (1) radial and median nerve conduction velocities were significantly slowed in the gun metal foundry workers; (2) indicators of lead absorption were inversely related to radial nerve conduction velocities, whereas indicators of copper and zinc absorption were positively correlated with the radial and median nerve conduction velocities; and (3) yearly changes in MCV in the radial nerve and in SCV in the median nerve were positively correlated with the changes in indicators of copper and zinc absorption. These findings suggest that zinc and copper antagonize the subclinical neurologic effects of lead. Also, the radial and median nerve conduction velocities provide important indicators of subclinical lead toxicity.

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