Silica particles and metals are important occupational hazards in foundry workers, and exposure may result in DNA damage and lipid peroxidation through oxidative stress. This study aimed to compare oxidative damage by measuring the levels of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA), urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG) and DNA strand breakage in workers at two foundry plants (exposure group) and in town hall employees (control group) in central Taiwan. Air samples for metals analysis in the workplace were also collected to assess the health risk to foundry workers. Significantly higher MDA levels (4.28 μM versus 1.64 μM), DNA strand breakage (6.63 versus 1.22), and 8-OH-dG levels (5.00 μg/g creatinine versus 1.84 μg/g creatinine) were found in exposure group compared with the control group. Higher levels of these parameters were also found in workers involved in manufacturing than in workers involved in administration. Higher air respirable dust concentrations were found in manufacturing departments (0.99 mg/m3) than in administrative departments (0.34 mg/m3). The health risk assessment on metals exposure showed that the cancer risk for Cd, Cr and Ni were all above 1 × 10-6. Future studies are necessary to determine whether metals exposure can contribute to oxidative damage in foundry workers.
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