Behaviour of some indicators of biological effect in female lead workers

L. Alessio, M. R. Castoldi, M. Buratti, M. Maroni, P. A. Bertazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationships between certain indicators of internal dose and of biological effect were studied in 93 adult women with varying degrees of exposure to lead (PbB levels ranging from 8 to 74 μg/ 100 ml). The results were compared with those obtained in a group of 95 males with more of less similar exposure. In both groups a good correlation was found between PbB and ALAD, EP, CPU taken singularly and the trend of the indicators of effect, depending on PbB levels, was similar: the decrease in ALAD values was already clear at PbB levels which do not cause an elevation of EP and the erythrocyte metabolite increased earlier than CPU. Considering the same levels of internal lead load (measured by both PbB and PbU-EDTA) in women, EP values were higher than in the men. No significant difference was established between the two sexes regarding ALAD and CPU values, when considered at the same PbB levels. Validity of ALAD and EP in the females, as already shown in our previous studies on males, was moderate in predicting PbB levels ≥ 40 μg/100 ml, while it clearly improved at PbB levels ≥ 50-60 μg/ 100 ml. This indicates that for screening women of child-bearing age the two indicators of effect must be used with caution, since a value of 40 μg/100 ml has been proposed as the "permissible" PbB limit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1977


  • ALAD
  • Lead
  • Lead in blood-protoporphyrin in erythrocytes
  • Urinary ALA
  • Urinary coproporphyrin
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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