Assessment of the biological effects of exposure to toxicants among workers at a metallurgical company in Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil
Revista Bras. Med. Trab. 2018; 16(2) : 175-184
Background: Metallurgical workers are a high-risk population as a function of their occupational exposure to toxicants, such as heavy metals, aromatic hydrocarbons and silicate.
Objective: To investigate the occurrence of biological effects among workers exposed to toxicants in various areas of a metallurgical company in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Methods: Cross-sectional study with 31 workers from 10 areas who responded a questionnaire on occupational and lifestyle habits. Blood and toxicology tests were compared to the questionnaire results.
Results: About 19.4% (n = 6) of the sample did not use all the required personal protective equipment (PPE). Reduction of red blood cell parameters and leukocyte abnormalities were found, including leukocytosis, neutrophilia and eosinophilia, as well as in the blood lead levels. The following significant associations were found on analysis per work area: smoking and neutrophilia (p = 0.000); work in the mold section and leukocytosis (p = 0.023) and eosinophilia (p = 0.007); and more than 10 years of work and leukocytosis (p = 0.008).
Conclusions: The data suggest that length of work, type of exposure and use of PPE might cause changes in the results of laboratory tests.
Palabras clave: Occupational exposure, laboratory research, personal protective equipment, metallurgy.