Aim: The aim of the work was to determine the levels of some micronutrients in the serum of persons occupationally exposed to formalin in Benin City, Nigeria.
Methods: The exposed group (n=36) comprised male embalmers (morticians) who have had occupational exposure for a minimum of five years, while apparently healthy age-matched male subjects (n=34) without considerable exposure to formaldehyde served as control subjects. The levels of zinc, copper, selenium, iron and chromium in their blood samples were determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer.
Results: Statistically significant findings were observed in micronutrient status in the exposed group. Zinc (90.39±1.24 ug/dl), Copper (106.49±4.56 ug/dl), Chromium (1.5 x 10-3 ±0.00 ug/dl) and Iron (117.79±3.42 ug/dl) when compared with the non-exposed group, Zinc (106.15±1.47ug/dl), Copper (165.08±3.64ug/dl), Chromium (2.2 x 10-3 ±0.00 ug/dl) and Iron (158.10±2.57 ug/dl). Selenium level in the exposed group (4.6 x 10-3 ±0.00 Unit/ml) was exceptionally higher than in the non-exposed group (1.4 x 10-3 ±0.00 ug/dl).
Conclusion: Formaldehyde contributes to depression of some micronutrients in plasma in occupationally exposed subjects.
Keywords: Micronutrients. Occupational exposure, Formaldehyde, Toxicity.
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