Relationship between blood lead levels and renal function in lead battery workers
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Objectives. The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between blood lead (PbB) levels and renal function indices of blood-urea nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine (SC) and uric acid (UA) among lead battery workers with exposure to lead.
Methods. A total of 229 workers of both genders from two lead battery factories were recruited in this cross-sectional study. The personal airborne and blood samples were collected on the same day. The airborne lead (PbA) and PbB levels, and individual renal function parameters were measured and statistically analyzed.
Results. A positive correlation between PbB levels and individual renal function index of BUN, SC, and UA was found (P<0.01). The PbB levels and renal function indices showed significant difference between male and female workers. Based on a multiple regression model, an increment of 10 µg/dl PbB produced an increase of 0.62 mg/dl BUN, after being adjusted for work duration and age, and an increase of 0.085 mg/dl UA, after being adjusted for gender and body weight. Workers with PbB ≤60 µg/dl and >60 µg/dl showed a positive dose-effect relationship with significant difference in BUN (P<0.001) and UA (P<0.05), and the percentage of workers with BUN and UA over the reference value also showed an increasing trend.
Conclusion. Blood-urea nitrogen and uric acid could be considered as suitable prognostic indicators of renal dysfunction in lead-exposed workers. Our results showed that PbB levels higher than 60 µg/dl had increasing chances of inducing adverse renal effects.
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