Does sulfuric acid have a ‘protective’ effect on battery recyclers exposed to lead?

Marcela Varona, Sonia M. Díaz-Criollo, Ruth Marien Palma-Parra, Alvaro Javier Idrovo, Eliana M Téllez avila , Diana Palencia Flórez

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review


Culturally significant interventions to prevent lead exposure of battery recyclers are required. Sulfuric acid used in batteries causes skin lesions and could facilitate the recognition of hazards. This study explored whether joint exposure to lead and sulfuric acid can be used in interventionstomanagehazardousworkconditions.Datawerecollectedfrom120 informal workers, and the blood lead level was measured. Predictors of blood lead levels were explored using a tobit model. The median blood lead level was 9.45 µg/dL (Q75-Q25: 48.9 µg/dL); when lead and sulfuric acid exposure occurred, the level increased to 11.44 µg/dL, and when exposure to lead and other substances occurred, the level was 11.50 µg/ dL. Workers are unaware of the risks of obvious and acute silent chronic exposure. Future preventive interventions could confront the economic benefits of battery recycling with the recognition of susceptibility and severity related to lead and sulfuric acid exposure.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number7
Early online dateNov 6 2019
StatePublished - 2021

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