Background Blood lead continues to be a health risk for Mexican workers.
Objective To identify blood lead predictors and the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in firearm users.
Material and Methods A cross-sectional study was performed on 65 males. We obtained socio-occupational and determined venous blood lead (BPb), as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms using the Q-16 questionnaire.
Results The mean (SD) [min-max] age was 34.8 (6.9) [21–60] years; mean number of years working at the company was 14 (8.5) [1–48] years. Twenty percent (13) used leaded glazed clay pottery (PbGC) in the kitchen. During practice they fired a mean 72 shots (60) [20–250], and during their employed life 5483 (8322.5) [200 to 50 000]. Mean BPb was 6.4 (2.8) [2.7–14.4] mcg/dL. Two caretakers at the firing range had 29.6 and 51.7 mcg/dL BPb. Subjects who went to practice 12 or more times a year reported a greater percentage of miscarriages in their partners (24% vs 0%). Twelve percent (8) showed an increase ³5 in neuropsychiatric symptoms. The BPb multiple linear regression model explains R 2 = 44.15%, as follows: those who had ≥ 12 practice sessions per year β = 0.5339 and use of PbGC β = 0.3651.
Conclusions Using firearms and PbGC contribute to increasing BPb in the studied personnel. The BPb concentrations found, despite being low, are a health risk, as evidenced by the prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms. The caretakers at the shooting range are at a higher risk.