Occupational lead exposure health risk assessment and heme biosynthesis: A study on batik artisans in yogyakarta, Indonesia

Heliyon. 2023 Sep 9;9(9):e19994. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e19994. eCollection 2023 Sep.


This study aims to assess dermal and inhalation lead exposure levels among batik industry workers and evaluate noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic health risks associated with lead exposure. We investigate potential relationships between lead exposure (dermal average daily dose and inhalation exposure concentration) and the workers' blood hemoglobin levels (Hb), as well as their urinary ALA (u-ALA) concentrations. Additionally, we explore any possible associations between Hb and u-ALA levels among the workers and identify various factors influencing lead exposure levels. A total of 30 workers were recruited for the study. Interviews and exposure sampling were conducted to measure dermal and inhaled lead exposure. Sample analysis methods include XRF for exposure samples, spectrophotometry for u-ALA, and HiCN colorimetric for Hb. Carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic risk assessments, correlation analysis, as well as ANOVA for factors analysis, were performed. The average dermal exposure dose and inhalation exposure concentration of lead were 6.53 ± 3.2 ng/kg/day and 0.021 ± 0.015 μg/m3, respectively. Hazard Index (HI) values for all workers were below 1 (average: 0.372 ± 0.155), indicating no expected noncarcinogenic health effects due to lead exposure. The average Excess Lifetime Cancer Risk (ELCR) was (5.18 ± 3.84) × 10-8, significantly below acceptable limits. Correlation analysis revealed a significant negative correlation between Hb and u-ALA (r = -0.519, p = 0.058 for male workers and r = -0.531, p = 0.034 for female workers), supporting their use as lead exposure biomarkers. The factors analysis demonstrated a significant impact of working conditions on inhalation exposure (p = 0.018), with outdoor workers experiencing lower lead inhalation. This research provides crucial insights into potential dangers faced by batik workers due to lead exposure, emphasizing the importance of targeted interventions. The strong correlation between Hb and u-ALA indicates their combined effectiveness in detecting lead exposure, even at low levels. The study underscores the significance of outdoor work as a protective measure against inhaling heavy metals, such as lead, present in the air. The assessment of health risks associated with lead exposure in the batik industry lays the groundwork for informed decision-making and interventions to protect workers' well-being, particularly in informal sectors workplaces where health risks are often overlooked.

Keywords: Batik; Dermal; Hemoglobin; Inhalation; Lead; Risk assessment; ala.