Lead and Cadmium Toxicity in Tile Manufacturing Workers in Assiut, Egypt

Arab Journal of Forensic Sciences & Forensic Medicine. 2016;1(3) DOI 10.12816/0026462


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Journal Title: Arab Journal of Forensic Sciences & Forensic Medicine

ISSN: 1658-6786 (Print); 1658-6794 (Online)

Publisher: Naif University Publishing House

Society/Institution: Arab Society for Forensic Sciences and Forensic Medicine

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Medicine (General)

Country of publisher: Saudi Arabia

Language of fulltext: English, Arabic

Full-text formats available: PDF



Ragaa M Abd Elmaaboud (Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University)

Zaghloul T. Mohamed (Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University)

Safaa M. George (Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University)

Azaa M. Ez El-Dine (Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University)

Doaa M. El Shehaby (Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Occupational lead and cadmium exposure are important health issues in developing countries. This study aimed to detect toxic metal contents in raw materials used to make tiles and to assess exposure health impacts on workers. The study sample consisted of 74 tile workers, having a mean age of 35.2 years, in the Industrial City of Arab El Awamer, Assiut (Egypt). Elemental analysis of the raw materials was performed by using scanning electron microscopy. The data collection questionnaire was divided into two parts; the first included demographic data, symptoms attributed to toxic elements and possible sources of exposure to metals. The second part was designated to assess heavy metal exposure health impacts through clinical examination and biological  investigations. Many toxic elements were identified in the raw materials used to make tiles, and the most abundant were lead and cadmium. Analysis of the clinical data revealed that 66% of the workers suffered from headache, constipation (8%), abdominal colic (33.8%) and 30% suffered from a variety of respiratory problems such as dyspnea (60%), cough (13%) and chest tightness (27%). Fifty percent of the workers complained of weak grip, 33.8% of foot drop, and 54% had tremors. Burton’s line in gums was present in 28% of workers and 28.2% were diagnosed with constrictive lung diseases. Of the 74 workers, 90.5 % showed toxic lead levels and 80% had toxic cadmium levels. 10.8% had abnormal alpha glutathione levels with a positive strong linear correlation between lead and cadmium levels and years of work. It is mandatory to develop and implement measures to prevent these hazardous exposure effects among tile industry workers.