Levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese and zinc in biological samples of paralysed steel mill workers with related to controls.
ABSTRACT The determination of essential trace and toxic elements in the biological samples of human beings is an important clinical screening procedure. This study aimed to assess the possible effects of environmental exposure on paralysed male workers (n = 75) belonging to the production and quality control departments of a steel mill. In this investigation, the concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese and zinc were determined in biological samples (blood, urine and scalp hair samples) of exposed paralysis and non-paralysed steel mill workers. For comparative purposes, unexposed healthy subjects of same age group were selected as referents. The elements in the biological samples were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry prior to microwave-assisted acid digestion. The validity of the methodology was checked by the biological certified reference materials. The results indicate that the level understudy elements in all three biological samples were significantly higher in paralysed workers of both groups (quality control and production) as compared to referents (p < 0.01). The possible connection of these elements with the aetiology of disease is discussed. The results also show the need for immediate improvements of workplace ventilation and industrial hygiene practices.