Early Clinical Symptoms Associated with Occupational Lead Toxicity

Original article


M. Narayanappa 1, M. Amanullah Khan 1, Zakia Buzaik 2

1-Department of Family and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, A/-Arab Medical University. Benghazi, S.P.L.A. J. 2-Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Arab Medical University, Benghazi, S.F. L.A .J.

Garyounis Medical Journal Vol. 9, No.2. January 1986: 73-78


An epidemiological study of occupation hazard of exposure to lead was made in 184 workers in a Printing press, Benghazi, Libya. The subjects were divided into three groups-group I (32) working close to source of fumes and/or dust, group 11(108) working a little distance away but breathing in the same hall atmosphere, group III (44) clerks in the neighbouring administrative building. They were compared with group IV (145) workers of a Pepsi-Cola factory, Their history and clinical symptomatology relating to gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and neurological systems were obtained. Blood lead (Pb B) levels were estimated from randomly selected workers of each group using atomic absorpion spectrophotometry. The mean Pb B. levels of the exposed groups I & II were 26.16 and 25.60 ug/dl respectively. Group III and IV showed 15.69 and 21.85 ug/dl respectively, which are lower than the accepted toxic levels. There was preponderance of gastrointestinal symptoms in group I workers in comparison with other groups. The relative frequencies of musculoskeletal and neurological symptoms are discussed. There appears to be no correlation between the blood lead level measured and the degree of morbidity observed in the cases studied. Taking early clinical symptoms as a guide of lead toxicity, possible preventive measures to minimise this hazard are suggested.

Keywords: Early Clinical Symptoms Associated with Occupational Lead Toxicity