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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


CALDEIRA, Cristiane; MATTOS, Rita de Cassia Oliveira da Costa; MEYER, Armando  and  MOREIRA, Josino Costa. Applicability limits of urinary D-aminolevulinic acid as a screening test to evaluate professional intoxication by lead. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2000, vol.16, n.1, pp.225-230. ISSN 1678-4464.

The relationship between concentrations of ALA-U and Pb-S for two groups of workers is reported. The first group consisted of workers from a telephone company, and the second, of workers from battery factories with average Pb-S equivalent to 17,3 µg/dl (6,2-39,4) and 61,5 µg/dl (41,1-91,0), respectively. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utilization of ALA-U levels as a screening test for different levels of lead in blood by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and of spectrophotometry. A significant correlation was found between measured ALA and levels of blood lead (R = 0,739 - first group; R = 0,902 - second group; p < 0,001). The validity of ALA-U test to evaluate different levels of lead in blood was also studied. By using ALA levels of 3 mg/g creatinine as a threshold to detect levels of lead in blood equal to or higher than 20 µg/dl, the test results, for the workers in the first group, showed sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 90%. In both groups, the false positives as well as the false negatives were lower than 10%, which was enough to validate the test.

Keywords : Lead Poisoning; Aminolevulinic Acid; Occupational Exposure; Occupational Health.

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