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Blood Lead Level and its Effects on Occupationally Exposed Workers in Abeokuta, Nigeria

By Doaa Medany on August 15,2011



Bamgbose J.T.1, Ademuyiwa O.2, and Bamgbose O.3

1Department of Chemistry, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria

2Department of Biochemistry, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria

3Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria



A study on the hazards of lead on environmentally exposed 80 male petrol station attendants and 35

male University students (who are residents of Abeokuta, an urban city in Nigeria) has been

investigated by spectrophotometric analysis of their blood with 5,5 – dithiobis (2–nitrobenzoic acid)

(DTNB) at 412 nm, pH 7.4 and at 370C. DTNB permits the determination of sulfhydryl groups in

simple compounds and has been used to monitor the disappearance of free SH groups in hemoglobin

(Hb). The concentration of lead in the blood of each sample was also determined. The concentration

values ranged from for the petrol station attendants 21.40 to 70.51 μg/dl and 14.23 to 17.65 μg/dl for

the University students who served as the control. The mean values of blood lead concentration were

found to be 41.36±2.71μg/dl for petrol station attendants, while that of the control is 14.31±2.16μg/dl.

The mean blood lead values of the petrol station attendants were significantly higher than that of the

control (P< 0.05). At 370C, the lead-hemoglobin reacted with DTNB resulting in decrease in the

number of sulfhydryl group (ß93 –SH) per hemoglobin molecule. The values range from 3.8 to 5.6 -SH

groups for the petrol attendants and 4.6 – 5.8 -SH groups per tetramer for the control. The mean values

are 4.8±1.67 –SH and 5.5±2.40 groups per Hb molecule for the petrol station attendants and the

University students (control) respectively. This study demonstrates a predominant elevated blood lead

levels in petrol station attendants in Abeokuta City, Nigeria and that atmospheric lead represents a

significant source of human exposure to environmental pollutants in any city. These results also show

differences in the reactivity of sulfhydryl groups in the hemoglobin of this subject population. It is

suggested that these differences arise from the variations in the level of exposure to lead, the

environment of their ß93 sites, age, drinking and feeding habit, smoking status, as well as the level of

education of the subject.s.s

Key words: Hemoglobin - lead - sulfhydryl group - petrol attendants - blood.




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