Estimation of Urinary Delta Aminolevulinic Acid (δ-ALA) Levels in Students of Age Group 15 to 25 Years as an Index of Lead Exposure

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Sachin A. Patharkar
Suraj H. Jain
Alka V. Nerurkar
Neelam J. Patil
Pradeep N. Surve


Background: Lead poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. It occurs when lead builds up in the body. Students exposed to lead by eating junk foods wrapped in newspaper, the licking of fingers for turning the photocopies, book pages, printout etc. and use of same fingers for eating purpose. Additionally young population get exposed to lead by use of Kohl or Kajal eyeliners, some traditional ethnic medicines, time spent at firing ranges and some hobbies like wall paintings or jobs related to plumbing and soldering. Damage caused by lead poisoning cannot be reversed. Lead inhibits necessary enzymes required for heme synthesis, and this result in increased levels of delta-aminolevulinic acid (δ-ALA) excretion through urine.

Aim: To Estimate the urinary δ-ALA levels in the students of age group 15 to 25 years as an index of lead exposure.

Study Design: This is a cross-sectional study in Mumbai from a suburban locality.

Methodology: The study was done on 70 students of age group between 15 years and 25 years with their brief history related to lead exposure. Their urine samples were analyzed for δ-ALA by using Ehrlich reagent.

Results: According to our observation, out of 70 students 46 student’s (65.71%)urine samples shown δ-ALA level  above reference level and remaining 24 (34.28%) were considered as below reference level.

Conclusion: The prevalence of lead exposure among our study population is 65.71%.

Clinical Significance: We conclude that there is high prevalence of lead exposure in students of age group 15 to 25 years in Mumbai and necessary precautions need to be taken to avoid detrimental effects of lead poisoning.

Blood lead levels, lead exposure in students in Mumbai, Urinary δ ALA.

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How to Cite
Patharkar, S. A., Jain, S. H., Nerurkar, A. V., Patil, N. J., & Surve, P. N. (2020). Estimation of Urinary Delta Aminolevulinic Acid (δ-ALA) Levels in Students of Age Group 15 to 25 Years as an Index of Lead Exposure. International Journal of Biochemistry Research & Review, 29(4), 12-16.
Original Research Article


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