Study of occupational exposure to brick kiln emissions on heavy metal burden, biochemical profile, cortisol level and reproductive health risks among female workers at Rawat, Pakistan


The present study was planned to understand the heavy metal burden and its possible actions in blood of occupational females working at brick kilns at Rawat, Pakistan. A total of 232 women were included in the study, of which 114 presented control subjects. Apart from collection of demographic data, fertility indicators and body mass index (BMI), blood was collected from subjects that was later used for the determination of heavy metal concentrations using atomic absorption spectroscopy and haematological profile. Blood was centrifuged and plasma was obtained and stored at – 20° to study biochemical variables (sodium dismutase, peroxidase, reactive oxygen species, thiobarbituric acid reactive species, protein estimation), lipid profile and cortisol concentrations among the two groups. Analysis of heavy metal in blood showed elevated levels of cadmium (3.09 ± 0.01 μg/dl), chromium (4.20 ± 0.02 μg/dl) and nickel (5.59 ± 0.03 μg/dl) in worker’s group as compared with control. Increased platelet count; decreased antioxidant enzyme and increased oxidants level; increased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride (TG); decreased total protein and high-density lipoprotein (HDL); and increased cortisol levels were evident among workers as compared with the control group. The study concluded that occupational workers experience increased heavy metals burden in blood and, therefore, pose a risk to human health by causing reduction in antioxidant enzymes concentration and increase in stress conditions.

Authors: Mehwish David, Qurat-Ul-Ain, Muhammad Afzal, Muhammad Shoaib, Faiza Aman, Karen J Cloete, Naheed Turi, Sarwat Jahan
; Full Source: Environmental science and pollution research international 2020 Aug 4. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-10275-4.