Oxidative damage of workers in secondary metal recovery plants affected by smoking status and joining the smelting work

Taipau Chia, Ching Yi Hsu, Hsiu Ling Chen

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19 Citations (Scopus)


In Taiwan, secondary copper smelters and zinc recovery plants primarily utilize recovering metal from scrap and dross, and handles mostly fly ash and slag with high temperature to produce ZnO from the iron and steel industry. The materials may contain organic impurities, such as plastic and organic chloride chemicals, and amounts of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) are produced during the smelting process. Therefore, secondary metal recovery industries are major emission sources of PCDD/Fs, which may have been demonstrated to elicit oxidative stress and to involve the production of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA). Many studies have also indicated that the intake of antioxidants, smoking, age and exposure to environmental pollutants may be implicated to DNA damage or lipid peroxidation. This study therefore aims to elucidate the roles of occupational exposure like joining the smelting work, age, smoking and alcohol status, and antioxidant intake on oxidative damage in secondary metal recovery workers in Taiwan. 73 workers were recruited from 2 secondary metal recovery plants. The analysis of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) in urine, DNA strand breakage (comet assay) and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in blood samples were completed for all of the workers. The results showed that the older subjects exhibited significantly lower levels of 8-OH-dG and MDA than younger subjects. Our investigation also showed that working departments were in related to plasma MDA and DNA strand breakage levels of non-smokers, however, the observation become negligible in smokers. And it is implicated that cigarette type might affect 8-OH-dG levels in secondary metal recovery workers. Since, adding to results above, the MDA level in production workers was significantly higher than those in managerial departments, it is important for the employers to make efforts on improving occupational environments or serving protective equipments to protect workers in secondary metal recovery factories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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