Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny

Studies on battery repair and recycling workers occupationally exposed to lead in Karachi.

PMID 23789311


OBJECTIVE. The present study was carried out to investigate the effects of occupational lead exposure on the hematological and biochemical parameters in occupationally exposed and non exposed inhabitants of Karachi. MATERIAL AND METHODS. In 100 lead exposed subjects recruited from automobile workshops, lead battery repair and recycling units located in Karachi and in 100 control subjects the general health status, hematological parameters and exposure markers for lead were measured. RESULTS. Results indicated that the mean values of blood lead level and delta-aminolevulinic acid were significantly higher (P<0.05) while the activity of delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase were significantly decreased (P<0.05) among battery repair and recycling workers as compared to controls. The abnormalities in the blood lead level, delta-aminolevulinic acid and delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase were more frequent in lead exposed battery repair workers when compared with control subjects. The blood lead levels and deltaaminolevulinic acid were positively correlated while delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase was found to be negatively correlated with age, years of exposure and years of employment. Blood lead level was positively correlated with hemoglobin and RBC count while delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase was negatively correlated with hemoglobin concentration. The work related symptoms, droopiness, nasal symptoms and muscular pain were more frequent among battery repair workers as compared to control group. The findings of present study confirmed that occupational exposure to lead is associated with deviation in important hematological parameters and biological markers of exposure to lead among lead exposed workers, and also confirms the impact of lead exposure in the development of adverse effects among lead exposed workers. The study provides the data for risk assessment in lead battery repair workers of Karachi and suggests the need for preventive measures for battery repair workers and improvements to reduce occupational lead exposures to protect them from lead toxicity. It is suggested that hematological and physical examinations of lead exposed workers should be carried out periodically to prevent future health hazards.