Blood lead determinants and the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in firearm users in Mexico
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Mexican Institute of Social Security, 21st Century National Medical Center, Mexico City, Mexico (Occupational Health Research Unit)
National Autonomus University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico (Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine)
National Public Health Institute, Mexico City, Mexico
American British Cowdray Hospital, Mexico City, Mexico (Research and Education Center for Environmental Health)
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2016;29(2):219–228
Objectives: To identify blood lead predictors and the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in firearm users of public security in Mexico. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on 65 males. We obtained socio-occupational data and determined venous blood lead (blood (B), lead (Pb) – BPb), as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms using the Q-16 questionnaire. A multiple linear regression model was constructed to assess determinants of BPb. Results: The mean age in the study group was 34.8 years (standard deviation (SD) = 6.9, range: 21–60); the mean number of years spent in the company amounted to 14 years (SD = 8.5, range: 1–48). Twenty percent of the respondents (N = 13) used leaded glazed clay pottery (lead (Pb), glazed (G), and clay pottery (C) – PbGC) in the kitchen. During practice they fired a mean of 72 shots (SD = 60, range: 20–250), and during their whole duration of employment 5483 shots (SD = 8322.5, range: 200–50 000). The mean BPb was 7.6 μg/dl (SD = 6.8, range: 2.7–51.7). Two caretakers from the firing range had 29.6 μg/dl and 51.7 μg/dl BPb. The subjects who had shooting practice sessions ≥ 12 times a year reported a greater percentage of miscarriages in their partners (24% vs. 0%). Twelve percent of the respondents showed an increase in neuropsychiatric symptoms. The BPb multiple linear regression model explained R2 = 44.15%, as follows: those who had ≥ 12 practice sessions per year – β = 0.5339 and those who used PbGC – β = 0.3651. Conclusions: Using firearms and PbGC contributes to the increased BPb in the studied personnel. The determinants of BPb were: shooting practices >12 times a year and using PbGC. Blood lead concentrations reported in the study, despite being low, are a health risk, as evidenced by the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Cuauhtémoc Arturo Juárez-Pérez   
Mexican Institute of Social Security, 21st Century National Medical Center, Occupational Health Research Unit, Av. Cuauhtémoc 330, Edificio C, 1er Piso, Colonia Doctores, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, CP 06720 Mexico City, Mexico