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Effect of Occupational Exposure on Allergic Diseases and Relationship with Serum IgE Levels in the Tannery Workers in Bangladesh


M. Aktar Hossain1 and Laila N. Islam2*

1Laboratory of Immunology, Department of Microbiology, Bangladesh Medical College Hospital (BMCH), Dhaka, Bangladesh. 2Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

ABSTRACT: The tannery workers in Hazaribagh, Dhaka, have been found to suffer from a wide range of allergic diseases. Serum IgE level plays a crucial role in the development of allergy. Occupational exposure to chromium compounds and other chemicals used in mineral tanning processes may elevate IgE levels and cause allergy. We evaluated serum IgE levels and investigated its relationship with allergic diseases in the tannery workers and control subjects. The tannery workers had a single or more than one type of allergic diseases including food allergy, allergic contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, eosinophilia, allergic urticaria, drug allergy, and non-specific allergy. IgE levels were significantly higher in the tannery workers (339.6 IU/mL) compared to that in the unexposed controls (207.5 IU/mL). Tannery workers without allergic diseases had significantly elevated levels of IgE (313.5 IU/mL) compared to the controls (90.4 IU/mL) without allergy. IgE levels were maximally elevated in the tanners with allergic urticaria (563.4 IU/mL) followed by non-specific allergy (390.1 IU/mL), and food allergy (346.3 IU/mL) whereas control subjects with eosinophilia had maximally elevated levels of IgE (737.1 IU/mL) followed by allergic contact dermatitis (479.1 IU/mL), and allergic urticaria (373.3 IU/mL). Allergy attacks were more frequent in the tanners during the hot season while the control subjects had frequent attacks during the cold season. These observations suggested that occupational exposure to chromium and other toxic chemicals and pollution in the working environment were associated with the development of allergic diseases and elevated levels of IgE in the tannery workers in Bangladesh.

KEYWORDS: Tannery workers, allergic diseases, serum IgE, Hazaribagh, Bangladesh.

CITATION: Hossain, M. A., Islam, L. N. 2016. Effect of Occupational Exposure on Allergic Diseases and Relationship with Serum IgE Levels in the Tannery Workers in Bangladesh. Biores Comm. 2(1), 158-163.

CORRESPONDENCE: Dr. Laila N. Islam, E-Mail: lailanislam@yahoo.com, laila@du.ac.bd

 

 
 
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