Lead Toxicity in a Family as a Result of Occupational Exposure
This article describes an entire family manufacturing lead acid batteries who all suffered from lead poisoning. The family of five lived in a house, part of which had been used for various stages of battery production for 14 years. Open space was used for drying batteries. They all drank water from a well located on the premises. Evaluation of biomarkers of lead exposure and/or effect revealed alarming blood lead levels [(3.92±0.94) μmol L-1], 50 % reduction in the activity of δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase [(24.67±5.12) U L-1] and an increase in zinc protoporphyrin [(1228±480) μg L-1]. Liver function tests showed an increase in serum alkaline phosphatase [(170.41±41.82) U L-1]. All other liver function test parameters were normal. Renal function tests showed an increase in serum uric acid [(515.81±86.29) μmol L-1] while urea and creatinine were normal. Serum calcium was low [(1.90±0.42) mmol L-1 in women and (2.09±0.12) mmol L-1 in men], while blood pressure was high in the head of the family and his wife and normal in children. Lead concentration in well water was estimated to 180 μg L-1. The family was referred to the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India, were they were received treatment and were informed about the hazards of lead poisoning. A follow up three months later showed a slight decrease in blood lead levels and a significant increase in haemoglobin. These findings can be attributed to behavioural changes adopted by the family, even though they continued producing lead batteries.