Changes in urinary catecholamines in response to noise exposure in workers at Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex, Kerman, Iran
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Noise is one of the most harmful agents in the workplace. In addition to the adverse effects of noise on the auditory system, as a stressor it may cause increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and impaired secretion of hormones. The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in urinary catecholamines in workers exposed to industrial noise. This is an experimental study of the workers at the smelter section of Sarcheshmeh Copper Industries done on two separate days. During the first day, urine samples from 20 workers who did not use any hearing protection device, were collected during an 8-h work shift and on the second day the same was done but they were asked to use earplugs. Also 20 people were selected as a control group from people who were not exposed to noise at work. Urinary catecholamine levels were measured with ELISA kits. The mean urinary epinephrine and norepinephrine levels in the workers (without earplugs) was respectively 8.69 and 35.56 μg/8h on the first day and on the second day (with earplugs) dropped to 6.45 and 30.95 μg/8h. Noise reduction by earplugs led to almost significant reductions in urinary epinephrine (p = 0.05) and significant reductions in norepinephrine (p = 0.02). The results showed that with noise reduction the urinary excretion of stress hormones, especially norepinephrine significantly decreases and workers are probably less prone to stress-related disorders.
KeywordsNoise Catecholamine Stress Worker Earplug Urine
The authors wish to thank Dr. Parviz Dabiri’s Laboratory for their guidance and cooperation in measuring catecholamines. The authors also thank the personnel and workers of the Sarcheshmeh Copper Industries, Kerman, for their cooperation for conducting this research. This research project was approved at the Committee of Environmental Medicine at the School of Public Health and was funded by the Deputy of Research of Kerman Medical University and the Center for Occupational Disease Research at the Sarcheshmeh Copper Complex.
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