Biomedical Research

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Evaluation of blood lead levels and their association with haematological and liver function test parameters in Saudi workers from Riyadh region, KSA

Occupational illness resulting from workplace chemicals and other toxic substances is an important public health problem for workers who are predisposed to react adversely to the work environment. The present study focuses on blood lead levels and their association with the haematological and liver function test parameters. The amount of lead concentration in plasma samples was measured by LeadCare II analyser. Haematological parameters were evaluated on the ADVIA120 analyser. Liver function test parameters included estimations of Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Bilirubin and creatinine; these were estimated using the Beckman-Coulter SYNCHRON analyser. A total of 127 samples were collected and 87 samples were analysed. Approximately 75% subjects had BLL of 4.61 μg/dl, and 25% subjects showed BLLs of 14.75 μg/dl (p<0.001) much beyond the threshold designated by the CDC. Haematological assessments showed that the levels of WBC (p<0.01) and platelets (p<0.01), were substantially altered in subjects with High BLL. Significant elevation in ALP (p<0.0001) and ALT levels (p<0.05) was observed in this group. The percentages of lym (p<0.05) and mid (p<0.001) cells were significantly decreased and the levels of neu were significantly increased (p<0.001). In subjects with high BLL, 36% subjects reported abdominal pain (p<0.001), 9% reported peripheral neuropathy pain (p<0.01) while 9% subjects showed blue line of gums (p<0.01). This study shows that high BLL is usually accompanied by other health issues that are otherwise easily preventable. In future, more studies are needed on occupationally exposed Saudi subjects for appropriate bio-monitoring of lead toxicity in Saudi Arabia.

Author(s): Alsaeed AH, Shaik AP, Faiyaz-ul-Haque M, Tabassum S, Alsaeed AM, Alyousef A, Shaik AS