Effects of occupational lead exposure on renal and nervous system of workers of traditional tile factories in Mashhad (northeast of Iran).Toxicol Ind Health 2010; 26(9):633-8TI
Occupational lead poisoning is a health problem in Iran. Renal and neuropsychiatric complications of occupational lead poisoning are the main concerns for the workers and their employers. It was thus aimed to investigate the renal and neurotoxic effects of lead poisoning in the workers of two traditional-tile-factories. Researchers visited the workers in the factories and collected data by taking direct history and physical examinations in summer of 2005. Data were recorded in previously designed forms. Blood and urine lead concentrations were measured by an atomic absorption technique. A neurologist examined all workers and electrophysiological investigations were undertaken as clinically indicated. Data were analyzed by SPSS software and chi-square, student t test and Pearson correlation tests were used accordingly. The numerical data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation and p < 0.05 was considered as the significant level. Overall, 108 male subjects aged 37 ± 7.8 years were studied. Duration of lead exposure was 9.8 ± 6 years. Lead concentration in 2005 was 361.5 ± 176.9 μg/L. The main objective clinical findings were lead line (64.8%), peripheral neuropathy of upper limb (37%), suppression of deep tendon reflexes (DTR) in upper limbs (25.7%), tremor (23.3%), peripheral neuropathy of lower limbs (17%) and abdominal tenderness (15.1%). The subjective findings were mainly on the central nervous system, such as loss of memory (57%), moodiness (56.1%), agitation (47.7%), drowsiness (36.4%), and headache (29.9%). There was no significant correlation between blood lead concentration and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). But there were significant correlations between the blood lead concentrations and urine lead concentration (p < 0.001). This study showed that lead had toxic effects on the teeth (bone), central and peripheral nervous system, more than renal function. Prophylactic and treatment measures were performed.