Alcohol has been shown to interact with lead to influence haem biosynthesis. The aim of this study was to define the dependence of this interaction on the degree of exposure to lead. Exposure to alcohol was estimated by measurement of alcohol concentrations in a sample of urine collected during the morning (AlcUM) (0.82 (SD 4.36) mmol/l) and in a sample collected during the afternoon (AlcUA) (1.15 (SD 3.49) mmol/l). The biological monitoring of exposure to lead included measurements of blood lead (Pb-B) (1.82 (SD 0.72) mumol/l), urinary delta-aminolaevulinic acid (ALAU) (35.33 (SD 28.00) mumol/l; d = 1.015), and erythrocyte zinc-protoporphyrin (ZPP) (112.90 (SD 83.71) nmol/mmol Hb) concentrations. The study of the influence of the degree of occupational exposure to lead on relations between alcohol consumption and effects of the exposure to lead led to the consideration of two different groups--namely, mildly and strongly exposed subjects. In the first group, individual biological susceptibility seemed to play a preponderant part. In the second, the pool of lead present in the body seemed to be sufficiently important to mask the effects of individual susceptibility.
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