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Chronic exposure to zinc of furnace operators in a brass foundry
  1. Ebtissam A. Hamdi
  1. Department of Industrial Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, U.A.R.


    Hamdi, A. E. (1969).Brit. J. industr. Med.,26, 126-134. Chronic exposure to zinc of furnace operators in a brass foundry. Twelve furnace operators with chronic exposure to zinc oxide fumes in a brass foundry and 10 normal non-exposed control subjects were studied. Simultaneous determinations of zinc concentrations in the plasma, blood corpuscles, whole blood, and urine were made for each worker and control subject, and in the basal fasting gastric juice and in the gastric secretion half an hour and one hour after gastric stimulation by alcohol in eight workers and seven control subjects.

    The workers showed a statistically significant increase of zinc concentration in the blood corpuscles, whole blood, and basal fasting gastric juice compared with the control subjects. Urinary zinc excretion was slightly increased in the exposed workers. The increase in the plasma zinc in the workers was not statistically significant.

    Stomach aspiration after alcohol showed a depression of the mean zinc concentration in the gastric secretion after half an hour with a subsequent increase to approximately the fasting level after one hour in both the normal subjects and the workers. Mean zinc concentrations in the gastric juice half an hour and one hour after stomach stimulation were higher in the workers, but the increase was not statistically significant.

    It is suggested that the zinc absorbed by these workers is rapidly eliminated from the plasma to be excreted through the gastro-intestinal and urinary tracts; excess zinc is stored in the blood corpuscles. The increased zinc concentration in the gastric secretion of these workers might account, in part, for the high incidence of gastric complaints among them.

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