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ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 58-64

Haematological assessment of occupational exposure to lead handlers in Enugu urban, Enugu State, Nigeria


Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E O Ukaejiofo
Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 19562924

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OBJECTIVE: To determine blood levels of lead and its effects on haematological parameters among occupational lead handlers in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. In developing countries, rapid industrialisation has lead to an alarming demand for lead. Furthermore, the burden of lead toxicity is greatly underestimated. Hence, the need to assess the unavoidable toxic effects of lead as done in this study. METHODS: Blood lead levels were measured by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) in eighty one (81) male subjects from three manufacturing companies, all located in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria. Thirty (30) staff of the industries not directly involved in lead handling served as control group I, while twenty (20) apparently healthy individuals from within the same locality not involved in lead handling served as control group II. Haematological values, blood lead levels and blood pressure (BP) were established using standard procedures. Statistical Analysis System (SAS) software was used to analyze the results. P value of < 0.05 was taken as significant. RESULTS: Mean blood levels were 7.00 +/- 0.07 microg/dl in test subjects; 3.00 +/- 0.19 microg/dl in control group I and 2.00 +/- 0.04 microg/dl in the control group II. There were significant statistical differences (p < 0.05 for each) in haemoglobin (Hb), packed cell volume (PCV), reticulocyte, total white blood cell (WBC), monocyte, autohaemolysis without glucose, and systolic and diastolic pressure between subjects and control group I. There were also significant differences (p < 0.05 for each) in the mean levels of Hb, PCV, reticulocyte, eosinophil, monocytes and systolic and diastolic pressures between the test subjects and control group II. There were however, no statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) in the means of other parameters. Basophilic stipplings were not observed in the red cells of those directly exposed to lead. CONCLUSIONS: It is suggested, therefore, that comprehensive and preventive measures towards exposure to lead in work places, and routine haemotological investigations be included in the bio-monitoring of the health status of lead workers.


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