Toxicol Ind Health. 2023 Nov 20:7482337231215864. doi: 10.1177/07482337231215864. Online ahead of print.
Male workers in copper smelting are exposed to copper, lead, and arsenic. This study aimed to assess the effects of combined exposure to these metals on male reproductive hormone levels and assesses malondialdehyde (MDA) as an oxidative stress parameter. The study was conducted on 40 copper smelter workers compared with 40 non-exposed workers. Laboratory investigations included levels of serum copper, blood lead, serum arsenic, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, and MDA. Levels of copper, arsenic, lead, FSH, and LH were significantly increased compared to controls. However, a statistically significant decrease in the mean value of testosterone was found among exposed workers. Positive correlations between serum copper and both serum FSH and MDA levels were statistically significant as were correlations between serum arsenic and MDA levels. Testosterone levels showed significant negative correlations with both copper and arsenic among exposed workers. A linear regression model of copper, arsenic, and lead levels as independent variables with FSH, LH, and testosterone as dependent variables revealed a significant negative association between serum copper and testosterone levels. The current study concluded that combined exposure to copper, arsenic, and lead in secondary copper smelters had a negative impact on male reproductive hormone levels that may be mediated by oxidative stress.