Comprehensive neurophysiological evaluation of lead-exposed workers

G. Sborgia, G. Assennato, N. L'Abbate, L. De Marinis, C. Paci, M. De Nicolo, G. De Marinis, N. Montrone, E. Ferrannini, L. Specchio, G. Masi, G. Olivieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A survey of the neurotoxic effects of lead in battery workers was carried out, based on the evaluation of multiple neurophysiological parameters. Thirty-one battery workers and thirty-seven controls (industrial workers from a minor iron foundry) were examined. Exposure levels in both groups were evaluated by determination of blood lead levels (PbB) and zincprotoporphyrin (ZPP). The neurophysiological tests included Visual Evoked Response-VER- (latency and amplitude in both eyes), motor conduction velocity of median, ulnar, deep peroneal and tibial nerves; sensory conduction velocity of the median nerve, recording of the smooth pursuit eye movements. Since 1979 the battery workers had undergone periodic medical surveillance, based on PbB and ZPP. Current maximal and time-weighted average PbB values were taken into account as indicators of exposure. The survey also included a standardized questionnaire, audiometric testing and ophthalmologic and neurologic examinations. No significant difference was detected between the two groups for the parameters under evaluation, and no consistent dose-effect relationship was found. In our experience, no single neurophysiological parameter seems to be useful in the medical surveillance of low level lead exposed subjects working in small plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-294
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in the Biosciences
Volume46
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 1983

Keywords

  • Lead exposure
  • neurophysiological tests
  • visual evoked response

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