The main occupational safety measure in factories is monitoring workers exposed to various types of contaminations. The main environmental concern of governments about copper industries is emission of dust, metals, metal compounds and volatile organic compounds in air. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the immune system status of workers in a copper concentration factory in Iran by placing the emphasis on oxidative stress biomarkers.
A comparative cross-sectional study was performed on 40 workers of the copper concentration factory and 40 unexposed individuals. White blood cell count, plasma interleukin 2 and 4, oxidative burst of neutrophils, oxidative damages of DNA and RNA, lipid and protein, total antioxidant capacity of plasma, and antioxidant enzymes activities were measured.
A significant decrease in the white blood cell count and interleukin 2 and an increase in the interleukin 4 were observed in the workers and these changes represented the possibility of inflammation and weakening of the immune system. The elevation of oxidative damages, total antioxidant capacity and the activity of antioxidant enzymes are indicative of the change in oxidative stress status.
The oxidative stress induction and immune system changes might be useful biomarkers in screening and surveillance for occupational hazard. More studies are needed to find out the type and the concentration of pollutants and to evaluate the protective effects of natural antioxidants.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests: the authors declare that there is no conflict of interest. This work was supported by Sarcheshmeh copper factory in Iran (Grant No. 94/94/2168).
Farsipour, B., Faghihi-Zarandi, A., Mozaffari, A. and Karami-Mohajeri, S. (2019), "Immune response and oxidative stress in workers of a copper concentration factory", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 258-266. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-05-2018-0062
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