The Impact of Lead Contamination on Psychiatric Disorders and Quality of Life

Hamzeh Salehzadeh , Mehrzad Ebrahemzadih , Mohammad Reza Nourani , Mohamad Kourghi and Ramezan Ali Taheri


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of exposure to lead contaminants on the psychiatric disorders and quality of life in employees of various occupations in Sanandaj city, Iran, where there is lead in the workplace. Method: The present study was a descriptive-analytical study done on employees of different occupations (including: non-exposed people, gas station, welding and painting) in Sanandaj, Iran. 64 people were considered as the non-exposed group, and 124 were selected as the exposed group.To obtain blood sample from the employees, about 7 ml of the blood of each person in the heparin tubes was collected by a sterile disposable syringe, and then, transferred to the laboratory. Blood lead levels were measured by the atomic absorption spectrophotometer apparatus AA6800. A psychiatric disorders’ questionnaire (-90Checklist Symptom 90-Scl) was used to assess the psychiatric disorders. The questionnaire contained 90 questions for evaluating the mental symptoms, and the results were reported by the interviewee. In this study, a 36-item quality of life questionnaire (SF-36) with a total of 36 questions in 8 health domains including physical function, physical role, physical pain, general health, energy and vitality, social functioning, emotional-mental problems and mental health was used. After collecting the data, the obtained information was entered to the SPSS software version 20. Results: The age range of the subjects was between 25 and 50 years old. All the subjects were male, and 43% of the exposed group and 37% of the non-exposed group had higher education than diploma. The highest blood lead level was observed for welding staff with an average of 63.3500 μg/dl, and the lowest blood lead level belonged to the subjects without exposure to lead with an average of 14.7500 μg/dl. Moreover, the highest level of quality of life and the lowest levelsof psychiatric disorders were found in non-exposed people, and the lowest level of quality of life and the highest psychiatric disorders were in welding staff. Conclusion: Regarding the problems associated with the exposure to lead, reducing blood lead levels by decreasing the amount of lead in chemicals should be used in various industries, as well as the use of personal protective equipments such as chemical masks are necessary.

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