Blood lead and erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels in association with smoking and personal hygienic behaviour among lead exposed workers

K. Karita, M. Nakao, K. Ohwaki, Y. Yamanouchi, M. Nishikitani, K. Nomura, M. Sato, E. Yano

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Aims: To investigate the effects of smoking and personal hygienic behaviour on blood lead (BPb) and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels (FEP) in lead exposed workers. Methods: Subjects were 105 lead exposed male workers in a battery recycling plant during the years 2000-03. BPb and FEP were measured as part of the ongoing occupational surveillance. Each worker completed a questionnaire for assessment of smoking and four measures of personal hygienic behaviour (glove and mask use, hand and face washing before meals during working hours). Results: Statistically significant decreases in mean BPb and FEP occurred during the three years. The proportion of BPb reduction in the non-smoking workers was significantly higher (mean 24.3%) than in the smoking workers (15.3%). When the workers were classified into three groups (excellent, good, and poor) based on the four personal hygienic behavioural indicators, the greatest decreases of BPb and FEP were observed in the non-smoking workers of the excellent group. Conclusions: The consistent use of protection devices and cleanliness at work appeared to contribute to the lowering of BPb and FEP. Cessation of smoking in the workplace was also of importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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