Article Type

Original Study


Objectives The aim of this study was to study health disorders among workers in a leather tanning industry and its relation with workplace environment in the same factory. Background Leather tanning industry wastes pose serious environmental effect on water, land, and air. Leather tanning manufacture processes are also associated with a number of human health risks. Chromium (Cr) is the commonest used tanning agent to stabilize leather against biodegradation. Prolonged exposure to Cr compounds leads to long-term toxic effects in humans. Participants and methods A cross-sectional comparative study was conducted on 304 workers in a leather tanning factory and 304 nonoccupationally exposed subjects as control. Air samples for Cr (VI) were carried out. Biological monitoring of Cr in blood and urine of participants was done. Spirometric measurements and hematological investigations were applied. Results The mean value of airborne Cr (VI) concentration was higher than the international permissible levels. There were higher serum and urinary Cr levels among exposed workers than controls (P = 0.000). Leather tanning factory workers had a higher significant prevalence of respiratory and skin-related manifestations as well as decreased spirometric measurements and abnormal hematological findings (P = 0.000). Conclusion Exposure to high level of Cr is blamed to increase the frequency of skin-related and respiratory manifestations, early spirometric changes, and abnormal hematological findings. Regular wearing of good-quality personal protective equipment, especially masks and gloves, to decrease Cr exposure is highly recommended.