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Q J Med. 1993 Mar;86(3):165-74.

Renal impairment with chronic hydrocarbon exposure.

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1
Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

Occupational hydrocarbon exposure is believed by some investigators to play an important role in the development of several non-neoplastic renal diseases. In view of the continuing debate in this area of nephrology we adopted a cross-sectional approach by investigating the prevalence of clinical or sub-clinical renal dysfunction in subjects chronically exposed to hydrocarbons at their work site. Three groups of healthy men working in different and separate areas of a major car manufacturing plant in the North-west of England participated in the study. Group 1 comprised 112 paint sprayers with exposure to paint-based hydrocarbons, group 2 comprised 101 volunteers working in the transmission area of the plant with exposure to petroleum-based mineral oils, and group 3 comprised 92 automated press operators with minimal background exposure to lubricants who acted as internal controls. Early markers of renal dysfunction such as serum creatinine, urinary total protein, albumin, transferrin, retinol binding protein, N-acetyl-glucosaminidase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, and leucine-amino-peptidase excretion were measured. Upper reference values of the parameters measured were derived from 105 comparable laboratory based controls with no occupational exposure to hydrocarbons or heavy metals. Group 1 had a significantly higher prevalence of elevated serum creatinine than the other groups and a higher prevalence of abnormal urinary total protein, N-acetyl-glucosaminidase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, and leucine-amino-peptidase excretion than groups 2 and 3. Group 2 had normal serum creatinine but a significantly higher prevalence of abnormal urinary total protein, transferrin, retinol binding protein, N-acetyl-glucosaminidase, and leucine-amino-peptidase excretion than group 3. Serum albumin was similar in all groups. There was some clustering of abnormal findings but the markers of renal dysfunction used in the study identified 37 individuals in group 1 and 31 subjects in group 2 with at least one abnormal parameter, compared to only five individuals in internal controls. This difference between the two target groups and group 3 was highly significant (p < 0.001). Subjects with chronic paint exposure had renal impairment and tubular dysfunction. Tubular dysfunction was also prominent with petroleum oil exposure. We therefore conclude that chronic hydrocarbon exposure may be associated with clinical and sub-clinical renal dysfunction. We advocate careful monitoring of workers exposure to hydrocarbons and for more effective preventive measures.

PMID:
8483990
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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