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J Occup Med Toxicol. 2010 Jul 7;5:19. doi: 10.1186/1745-6673-5-19.

Acute lead intoxication in a female battery worker: Diagnosis and management.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical Faculty, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.


Lead is a significant occupational and environmental hazard. Battery industry is one of the settings related to lead intoxication. Published information on the use of oral chelating agents for the treatment of anaemia in the context of acute lead intoxication is limited. The patient was a 33 year immigrant female worker in a battery manufacture for 3 months. She complained for malaise that has been developed over the past two weeks. Pallor of skin and conjunctiva was the only sign found in physical examination. The blood test on admission revealed normochromic anaemia. Endoscopic investigation of the gastrointestinal system was negative for bleeding. The bone marrow biopsy was unrevealing.At baseline no attention has been paid to patient's occupational history. Afterwards the patient's occupational history has been re-evaluated and she has been screened for lead intoxication. The increased levels of the lead related biomarkers of exposure and effect confirmed the diagnosis. The patient received an oral chelating agent and an improvement in clinical picture, and levels of haematological and lead related biochemical parameters have been recorded. No side effect and no rebound effect were observed. This case report emphasizes the importance of the occupational history in the context of the differential diagnosis. Moreover, this report indicates that lead remains a significant occupational hazard especially in the small scale battery industry.

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