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Evaluation of nephrotoxic effect of lead exposure among automobile repairers in Nnewi Metropolis. Ubuo K. Amah1, Nnamdi K. Madu2, Joseph E. Ahaneku1, Gladys I. Ahaneku3, Christian E. Onah4*, Jude A. Onuegbu1, Japhet M. Olisekodiaka1, John E. Okwara1, Chudi E. Dioka1, Samuel C. Meludu5
Background: Lead toxicity is one of the most common occupational hazards that affect several organs of the body, kidney inclusive. Auto repairers are exposed to lead in petrol, radiator, leaded battery, lead soldering wire, and spray paints, thus this study was designed to evaluate lead-induced nephrotoxic effect among automobile repairers.
Methods: A total of 80 male subjects within the age range of 20 and 65 years were recruited for this study. 50 subjects were occupationally exposed automobile repairers, of which 15 were electricians, 21 mechanics and 14 panel beaters/spray painters, whereas 30 were non-exposed students and staff from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi campus. Blood sample was collected from these individuals and their blood lead levels were determined alongside creatinine, urea, uric acid, sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate.
Results: The results showed that the mean levels of blood lead is significantly higher in automobile repairers than in control group (P <0.05). The comparison of blood lead level among different categories of automobile repairers (electricians, mechanics, and panel beaters/spray painters) showed no significant difference (P >0.05). The evaluation of the renal function markers show that, there were significant increases in the mean serum concentration of creatinine, urea, and uric acid in the study group compare to the control subjects (P <0.05). However, there was no significance difference in the mean levels of sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate in study group when compared to the control group (P >0.05).
Conclusion: Findings from this study show that blood lead level is high among automobile repairers above CDC recommended level for adults. This high blood lead level among automobile repairers may be responsible for raised levels of renal markers which may eventually lead to their renal damage.
Keywords: Nephrotoxicity, Occupational workers, Lead, Renal function markers