21 May 2022
31 May 2022
Lead is a neurotoxin, and studies on the link between blood lead and depression have yielded mixed results. To survey the prevalence of elevated blood lead level and to evaluate its association with depressive symptoms among adult Iraqi workers. A comparative cross-sectional study with analytic component that conducted in two industries in Baghdad. It included 200 young adult male and female workers in the batteries factory (100 participants) who were exposed directly or indirectly to lead and in the textile factory (100 participants) unrelated to direct lead exposure. Blood sample was taken for measurement of blood lead level. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 was used to measure the symptoms of depression. Five factors were found to be significant independent risk factors for depressive symptoms (aging, female gender, widowed, chronic diseases, and lack of family support). Mean of blood lead level was significantly higher in participants who had depressive symptoms than that in those who didn’t have; in those with moderate to severe symptoms than that in those who had mild symptoms. blood lead > 20 µg/dl is predictive for risk of development of depressive symptoms. Statistically significant moderate positive correlations were detected between blood lead with total PHQ9 score and duration of work in batteries factory. Adult Iraqi employees had a high prevalence of depression symptoms. Even at levels believed to represent little or no risk, lead neurotoxicity may play a role in negative mental health outcomes.