Ragaa M Abd Elmaaboud Zaghloul T. Mohamed Safaa M. George Azaa M. Ez El-Dine Doaa M. El Shehaby


Occupational lead and cadmium exposure are important health issues in developing countries. This study aimed to detect toxic metal contents in raw materials used to make tiles and to assess exposure health impacts on workers. The study sample consisted of 74 tile workers, having a mean age of 35.2 years, in the Industrial City of Arab El Awamer, Assiut (Egypt). Elemental analysis of the raw materials was performed by using scanning electron microscopy. The data collection questionnaire was divided into two parts; the first included demographic data, symptoms attributed to toxic elements and possible sources of exposure to metals. The second part was designated to assess heavy metal exposure health impacts through clinical examination and biological 

investigations. Many toxic elements were identified in the raw materials used to make tiles, and the most abundant were lead and cadmium. Analysis of the clinical data revealed that 66% of the workers suffered from headache, constipation (8%), abdominal colic (33.8%) and 30% suffered from a variety of respiratory problems such as dyspnea (60%), cough (13%) and chest tightness (27%). Fifty percent of the workers complained of weak grip, 33.8% of foot drop, and 54% had tremors. Burton’s line in gums was present in 28% of workers and 28.2% were diagnosed with constrictive lung diseases. Of the 74 workers, 90.5 % showed toxic lead levels and 80% had toxic cadmium levels. 10.8% had abnormal alpha glutathione levels with a positive strong linear correlation between lead and cadmium levels and years of work. It is mandatory to develop and implement measures to prevent these hazardous exposure effects among tile industry workers.


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