Quantitative and semi-quantitative risk assessment of occupational exposure to lead among electrical solderers in Neyshabur, Iran
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Lead is one of the most widely used elements in the world. Lead can cause acute and chronic complications such as abnormal hemoglobin synthesis, kidney damage, abortion, nervous system disorders, male infertility, loss of learning ability, behavioral disorders, and even death. The aim of this study was to carry out quantitative and semi-quantitative risk assessments of exposure to lead among the solderers of the Neyshabur electronics industry. This cross-sectional, descriptive, and analytical study was conducted in 2017 and 2018 on 40 female soldering workers exposed to lead. Semi-quantitative risk assessment was carried out according to the Singapore Health Department and quantitative risk assessment according to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) method. The average occupational exposure to lead in the electronics manufacturing industry was 93.89 ± 33.40 μg m−3 with a range from 9 to 150 μg m−3. Occupational exposure to lead in the industrial groups of initial soldering with an average of 130.37 ± 40.23 μg m−3 and cutting wires, electroplating, and coating bare parts with an average of 110.24 ± 30.11 μg m−3 was higher than the secondary soldering groups with an average of 90.78 ± 20.22 and shift supervisors with an average of 43.86 ± 10.97 μg m−3. The mean excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) was 0.11 per 1000 people and the mean non-carcinogenic risk (HQ) was 7.20. The results of this study indicate that there is a risk of non-carcinogenic complications among electronic solderers. Therefore, managers and employers should reduce lead exposure through engineering controls (substituting lead-free alloys, efficient ventilation) and management strategies such as reducing exposure hours.
KeywordsLead Occupational exposure Risk assessment Soldering Electronics industries
This project was approved and financially supported by Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences and Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, by grant number 3036-96
Compliance with ethical standards
All participants signed a consent form. The purpose and method of doing the study was fully explained for all participants.
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