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9 Blood lead determinants and prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in firearm users
  1. C A J P Juarez Perez1,
  2. L T C Tellez-Cardenas2,
  3. L C H G Haro-Garcia3,
  4. A M G Mercado-Garcia4,
  5. G A M Aguilar-Madrid1
  1. 1Mexican Social Security Institute, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  2. 2Médica del Trabajo, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  3. 3University of Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  4. 4Instituto Nacional De Salud Publica, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico


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.

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