Chromium is one of such toxic heavy metals, which is extensively discharged in the environment through a large number of industrial operations such as metal finishing industries, petroleum refining, leather tanning etc. Chromium has binding affinities to biomolecules in living system and cause toxicity to biological life. The crucial amounts of Cr in the environment interact with biological life and cause cellular/DNA damages, mutation, cancer, genotoxicity, and organogenesis/fetotoxicity. Hexavalent form is about 100 fold more toxic than the trivalent form. Hexavalent Cr compounds are greatly soluble at neutral pH and easily cross the membranes of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells via sulphate transport system.
To evaluate the clinical toxicity of chromiumt, 600 human blood samples were collected from Niaz Nagar and Din Ghar of District Kasur. These samples were categorized into three different age groups i.e. 1-20, 21-40 and 41-60 years, and also sex wise (males and females). These blood samples were analyzed biochemically for albumin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransaminase, aspartate aminotransaminase, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, total proteins and glucose and heamatologically for heamoglobin, white blood cell count, red blood cell count, erythrocytic sedimentation rate. platelet count, heamatocrit or packed cell volume, mean corpuscular volume. mean corpuscular heamoglobin, mean corpuscular heamoglobin concentration. Total and hexavalent chromium was also been estimated in blood serum and different water samples of Kasur.
About 100 samples were collected from Khanuspur, Ayubia as control samples because this area is free of industry. The doners of these samples were interviewed for their medical history with special reference to their reproductive abnormality, if any. The physiological abnormalities were also recorded and correlated with the amount of Cr present in different facets of food chain.
Almost all the parameters of liver function have been affected in the industrial area population and are significantly different from those of the normal population. The albumin, total protein and aminotransferases are higher, whereas bilirubin (direct and total) and glucose content are lower in exposed population. Total chromium and chromium VI showed higher values in the blood serum of exposed population.
There is a general trend of increased red blood cell count, platelets count and packed cell volume in the exposed population, whereas, other parameters such as haemoglobin content, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration decreased in the exposed population. The white blood cell count, mean corpuscular volume and erythrocyte sedimentation rate remained unchanged.
The total chromium and chromium VI showed 327 % and 1618 % highly significant increase in the population residing in industrial area as compared with the control population
In workers and non-workers except for the albumin content and activity .of alkaline phosphatase these are higher in younger age group, however all the other liver function tests were normal in the workers as well as non-workers
The total chromium content of blood of workers of age group 1-20 years showed significant increase i.e.24%, while the remaining two age groups showed non-significant increase, when compared with the non-workers.
There is general trend of decreased values in mean cell volume, packed cell volume and platelet counts in worker, while the haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration values were higher in workers as compared with that of non-workers. The white blood cell counts decreased in workers upto the age of 40 years, whereas in older population it showed slight increase.
Biochemical analysis of blood serum of exposed. and unexposed male and female population showed that all the biochemical parameters viz. Albumin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferases, aspartate aminotransferases and total protein of liver were positively affected in the exposed male and female population. The total bilirubin, direct bilirubin and blood serum glucose contents were however lower in the exposed population as compared with those of the control population.
Haematological values such as white blood cell count, red blood cell count, packed cell volume and platelets count of male and female population residing in industrial area of Kasur and also those of control areas show a general increasing trend when compared with non-exposed population. The other parameters such as haemoglobin content, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration decreased in exposed population, while the mean cell volume and mean cell volume and erythrocyte sedimentation rate remain unchanged.
The total chromium and hexavalent chromium were significantly higher in the blood of exposed male and female population i.e. 569% and 78% respectively, as compared with the control population.
No definite pattern has been observed in different haematological and biochemical parameters. While comparing controls with exposed population, workers with non-workers, normal male with exposed males and normal females with exposed females. The different observation in various parameters is mostly insignificant. Even where the differences are significant the mean values obtained are well with in the normal ranges. Slight variation may be due to multitude of factors in addition to possible effects of chromium toxicity.