East African Medical Journal

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Serum lead levels in civil servicemen and public transport drivers in Makkah City, Saudi Arabia

AH Sawas, ARM Eldeib


Background: The risk of exposure to lead varies significantly with source and exposure rates. Short-term exposure to high levels of lead can cause clinical symptoms starting from vomiting and ending with coma, even death.

Objective: To describe the prevalence of occupational exposure with lead (Pb) health hazard in Makkah Al-Mukarramah city.

Design: Comparative study with geographical locations.

Setting: The city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Subjects: Eighty nine servicemen and sixty nine public transport drivers in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia were analysed by atomic absorption spectrophotometer.

Results: Twelve per cent of those sampled showed serum levels higher than 40 ug/dl while the mean values were 23.14 and 15.2 ug/dl in public transport drivers and civil servicemen respectively.

Conclusion: Accumulation and dispersion rates rather than exposure time appear to be the determinant factors for serum Pb levels. Clinical history did not correlate with serum-Pb levels, except in two cases of public transport drivers.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 82(9) 2005: 443-446
AJOL African Journals Online