Occupational exposure to welders??? flame could predispose to macrocytic anemia in welders in Nnewi, South East Nigeria


Nancy Ibeh, John Aneke, Chide Okocha, Emmanuel Obeagu

Background: Welders’ flame is known to contain some deleterious components which could be of potential occupational health importance. Objective: To evaluate the effects of occupational exposure to welders’ flame on hematological indices in a population of welders in Nnewi, Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: A total of 100 subjects were randomly selected, comprising 50 apparently healthy welders and controls, respectively. Subjects were further stratified into those that consumed alcohol and/or tobacco products and those who did not. About 3 ml of venous blood was collected from each participant and dispensed into potassium-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid containers for full blood count determination. This was performed using the Sysmex® automated hematology analyzer, Model Number: PCE 210. Results were expressed as means ± standard deviation while the student’s t-test was used for comparison of means; P was significant at <0.05. Results: The absolute blood monocyte and eosinophil counts, mean cell volume (MCV), mean cell hemoglobin (MCH), and MCH concentration were significantly higher in welders compared with controls while the white cell, absolute neutrophil, absolute eosinophil, and platelet counts were significantly increased in study subjects with longer duration of exposure (P < 0.05). The packed cell volume and hemoglobin concentration were significantly lower, while the MCV was significantly higher in study subjects who consumed alcohol, compared to those who did not (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Occupational exposure to welders’ flame could lead to macrocytic anemia.