Article Title: Toxicological and Biochemical Profile of Gasoline Station Workers in Onitsha, Anambra State
Gasoline station workers are occupationally exposed frequently to gasoline fumes by inhalation and dermal contact. The aim of this study was to assess selected toxicological and biochemical profile of gasoline station workers in Onitsha, Anambra state. The blood samples of 160 individuals (80 attendants and 80 controls) were tested for the percentage methaemoglobin (as a biomarker to assess benzene exposure), blood lead level (BLL) and gamma glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX) activity. The test subjects were divided into three groups: those exposed for one to six months (n=34); those who had been exposed for six months to two years (n=22); and those with over two years exposure (n=24). The mean methaemoglobin, blood lead and gamma glutamyl carboxylase levels were significantly higher among the station workers than that of the controls (p<0.05). Workers who had worked for over two years had significantly higher methaemoglobin and BLL than those who had worked for less than two years (p<0.05 in each case). The mean of the gamma carboxylase enzyme level when compared across the various durations of exposure was statistically insignificant (p>0.05 in each case). The study suggests that gasoline station workers are highly exposed to vapour from petroleum products and are at dangerous risk of benzene and lead-mediated toxicity. Though the gamma carboxylase enzyme is not affected by exposure to benzene and lead in gasoline station attendants, its increased levels in the study group could be an indication of underlying vascular endothelial damage.