[The effect of occupational exposure to heavy metals and arsenic on serum concentrations of carotenoids in copper foundry workers].Med Pr 2004; 55(5):389-401MP
The aim of the project was to analyze the effect of occupational exposure to heavy metals on the efficiency of antioxidative defensive mechanisms, represented by the concentration of carotenoids (KTND) in serum.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study involved 96 workers exposed to heavy metals in a copper foundry. Two subgroups of workers--those exposed only to lead and those to the combination of lead and arsenic--were analyzed. The control group consisted of 81 subjects not exposed to heavy metals. We measured concentrations of lead and cadmium in whole blood, selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium and carotenoids in serum, arsenic in urine and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (FEP).
Serum carotenoids concentration was significantly lower in workers exposed to heavy metals than in the control group (48.76 +/- 15.32 vs. 68.36 +/- 21.46 microg/dl; p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between serum concentrations of carotenoids in the subgroup exposed only to lead and the subgroup exposed to both lead and arsenic ((48.62 +/- 16.64 vs. 48.86 +/- 14.41 microg/dl). We found significant positive correlation between blood cadmium levels and serum carotenoids in the control group (r = -0.3406, p < 0.05). In the multiple regression analysis (optimal model), there was significant negative influence of blood lead on serum KTND levels and positive influence of blood cadmium on serum KTND concentrations in the subgroup of workers exposed only to lead (R(2) A = 0.9102; p < 0.001). In smelters exposed to both lead and arsenic, we observed significant negative influence of FEP and positive influence of arsenic on KTND concentrations in serum in the optimal model of multiple regression (R(2) A = 0.9249; p < 0.001).
Occupational exposure to lead and arsenic in moderate doses affects serum carotenoids concentration in exposed humans.